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Building ad-hoc team social capital through simulation

02 July 2021
Volume 13 · Issue 7


The concept of high functioning healthcare teams is complex and competencies have been developed primarily from aviation. High-functioning healthcare teams, including those formed in an ad-hoc manner, are crucial to positive patient outcomes. Social capital theory identifies structural, cognitive and relational dimensions involved in the formation of trusting, cohesive relationships. Theories of social capital can be used to advise the development of interprofessional simulation-based education. Interprofessional simulation-based education curricula development must focus on the social sciences if it is to promote strong, healthy team relationships. Simulation-based education should take place in learning environments that promote the development of social capital between team members, especially where teams are formed ad hoc.

Team-oriented training in health sciences education has historically focused on the principles of crew (or crisis) resource management as a means of addressing issues in healthcare team performance and patient safety. These programmes have primarily been developed for training ‘intact’ teams as a solution for improving patient safety (Paradis and Whitehead. 2018). Intact teams are those that have stable membership and members work/train frequently together (Salas et al, 2008). In addition, training for team-based competencies has been developed by borrowing from aviation, an industry similar to healthcare in that safety is critical, but different in important socioeconomic factors that make up ad-hoc healthcare teams (Sharma et al, 2011).

In contrast to intact teams are ad-hoc teams. These are common in healthcare, especially in emergency medicine, trauma care, prehospital care and surgery. They differ from intact teams in that members come together in an impromptu way to achieve a common goal, usually within time constraints and with inconsistent, advanced planning (Edmondson, 2003; Roberts et al, 2014; White et al, 2018).

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