Teamwork in Health Care: Relationships With Work Stress and Patient Safety
1University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Background: Inter-professional teamwork is essential to provide safe patient care, which is a central indicator of hospitals’ organizational performance. Reduction of care providers’ work stress is another important organizational focus. However, little is known about the complex interrelations between these constructs. This study examined if the effect of teamwork on patient safety was mediated by clinician burnout. Method: Participants were 1453 nurses and physicians working on intensive care units. Data on different teamwork aspects, burnout, and patient safety was collected via an online questionnaire. Multiple mediation analysis was used to test whether burnout mediated the relationship between teamwork and patient safety. Findings: All teamwork aspects correlated positively with burnout and negatively with patient safety. In addition, the association between teamwork and patient safety was mediated by emotional exhaustion. The effects varied depending on individual and organizational factors. Discussion: Teamwork is associated both with clinician burnout and patient safety. Team-based interventions could contribute to improving both clinician and patient outcomes.