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Multi-disciplinary teams at Waikato Hospital - View from Social Workers


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This power point presented at the 2015 Australia and NZ Social Work Educators Symposium at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia on 4th September, describes a 2014 study where social work from multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) at Waikato Hospital are interviewed regarding teams’ functioning. Group and systems discipline knowledge and practice experience means there is expert knowledge to contribute. Processes that contribute to or hinder teams’ functioning and recommendations for improvement aimed at increasing quality of patient outcomes are provided.

The research examines discourses in medical settings highlighting their impact on MDT functioning. The higher value placed on medical knowledge can render non-medical knowledge invisible or dismissed. When facilitation of MDT meetings is automatically assumed by lead nursing or medical personnel an unspoken undervaluing of facilitation expertise is promoted and an opportunity for more effective team functioning is lost.
The medical `site of disease’ discourse promotes a narrowed focus limiting options for MDT work. Risk aversion is a highly significant focus of work in hospitals and defensive practice can result distracting from holistic patient-centred practice.
Social workers can play a unique role in teams assisting functioning and promoting the patient’s voice. However they can experience significant downgrading of their knowledge and expertise, so need to maintain critical understanding of their position and be active in maintaining competent ethical professional practice.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social work education, social work, multi-disciplinary teams, inter-disciplinary
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Health & Social Practice
Depositing User: Rebecca Giles
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2016 22:07
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 04:19

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