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Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Shared Governance: Supports, Challenges, and Barriers

Updated on June 29, 2017

Bronstein’s Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The Bronstein’s Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration is an example of a conceptual framework that describes interdisciplinary collaboration (Bronstein, 2003). It is the most extensively cited example of interdisciplinary collaboration in most social work literature. The model encompasses five main components of interdisciplinary collaboration. These parts include interdependence, newly created professional activities, flexibility, and collective ownership of goals and reflection of the whole process (Bronstein, 2003). Further, the model also includes four influencing factors which include professional role, structural, personal characteristics, and history of collaboration. The professional role entails how a profession socializes its members. Structural characteristics are defined as organization's desire to foster interdisciplinary personal characteristics while personal characteristics are the features that either make an individual fit or unfit in an interdisciplinary collaboration. Finally the model also presents the history of collaboration which is essentially the root cause of interdisciplinary collaboration. The fundamental function of the model is to provide generic perception of the components of the optimum collaboration between social workers and other professionals (Petri, 2010).

This model is highly applicable in various professional fields and I would use this model in nursing. A nurse works with other healthcare professionals to deliver quality health care to patients. Looking at the components of interdisciplinary collaboration provided by the framework, employing them will lead to a more conducive and productive hospital working environment with each person feeling like a team player through collaboration.

Interdependence is about the various roles that are dependent on each other so as to achieve goals. Nurses will depend on doctors, pharmacists and laboratory technicians as well as other professionals within the hospital settings so as to deliver quality health care. However for interdependence to work, the newly created professional activities have to be put in place. Therefore structures, collaborative programs and acts have to be implemented that will promote collaboration between nurses and other professionals. Nurses and the other health care staff who will collaborate have to be flexible, adapting to each changing situation so as to enable them to keep on collaborating. Hence, there has to be deliberate role blurring and each person can take on different roles as the situation requires. To make collaboration effective, nurses and other health care professionals have to collectively own the goals that they set out to achieve. Each individual will have to be a team player and do their part, to achieve their collective goal rather than to achieve an individual goal and the goals will be set collectively with the participation of all those involved so as to guarantee there is a shared responsibility. With all these components in place, different health care professionals collaborating including the nurses will have to reflect on the process; thinking about the collaboration process and communication, providing feedback so as to further strengthen the collaborative relationships and make them more effective. The health care professionals involved will have to do genuine self-assessment of their collaborative relationships.

The purpose of this framework as described is to enable the effective collaboration of professionals in different disciplines and provide guidance as to what salient aspects of the workplace should be considered and addressed so as to ensure collaboration between professions such as nurses and other health care professionals. It is beneficial in creating a collaborative environment within the work place so as to safeguard the achievement of set goals. There are factors that influence interdisciplinary collaboration such as professional role, structural characteristics, personal characteristic and history of collaboration. Depending on the structure and culture of an organization, and the character of the workers, these influencing factors can either be challenges, barriers to collaboration or may support collaboration. It therefore creates a sense of ownership due to the fact that everyone is seen as a valuable team player and there is a collective goal that members of staff work together to achieve.


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