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GOAAALLLLLLLLLLLLWhen you form a team, why do you try to form a team? Because teamwork builds trust and trust builds speed.

Russel Honore

Anybody with a nodding acquaintance of football will understand what team work is all about, in football we have the goal keeper, the defenders, the midfielders’ and the attackers, each with a specific role, but they all have one aim at the back of their minds…score a goal and win the match.

Medical team is like a football team, where every member has a specific role to play, but they all have one aim in mind…the patient. They joy that comes with scoring a goal should not be different to then one expected from a medical team when a patient gets well. Like scoring a goal and winning a match, medical team should aim, above personal and professional differences at treating and getting the patient well.

What am I driving at?, it is obvious that in Nigeria and may be many parts of the world, the medical team is made of doctors, doctors, and doctors, which includes the consultant who happens to be the captain, coach, referee, and chairman of the team, all at the same time(more like being a John Terry, Morinho ,Howard Web, abramovich all at once), other members of the team are the senior registrar(the lines men),the junior registrar(third official),and the house officers(the ball boys). Then, I began to wonder what is “the team” in that sort of arrangement, I wondered how a team of just defenders, defenders and defenders can play matches and win them, and then I realized that there is need to redefine what a medical team should be/ought to be.

Oxford advance learner’s dictionary 8th edition defines a team as a group of people working together at a particular job. A team can also be seen as comprising a group of people linked in a common purpose. Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks. A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team(just like defenders alone cannot make a team). Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize his/her strengths and minimize his/her weaknesses. Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond their limitations. A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.

However, I must add that professional disharmony bedeviling the health sector today, is simply because of lack of team work and team spirit, the jack of all trade believe of most physicians, the no venture no gain attitude of the pharmacist, the belligerent nature of the lab scientist and the nurses and the non-committal behavior of the physiotherapist as well as other members of the team with different types of negative attitude that made the patient under their care to lead a dog’s life.

             What went wrong?

So many things had gone wrong to bring us to where we are today, right from our school days till now. See http://mypharmacymydream.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/see-what-education-has-done-to-the-health-sector/

                                                                    WAY FORWARD

It is my sincere believe that when a patient comes into a hospital setting, the physician, the pharmacist, the nurses and the lab scientist should, basically be on ground prior to/or on admission of such patient , the physician who is an expert in diagnoses should clerk the patient and come up with his differential diagnosis, work with the scientist to arrive at the definite diagnosis, the pharmacist should now come in as regards drugs, the clinical pharmacist as matter of training should have the final say on what drug should be given to the patient, just  as the physician’s take on diagnosis should not be challenged, the nurses should have and determine the final mode of nursing the patient. By so doing, every member of a team would be responsible for their own contributions and will be held liable should anything go wrong.

Medical schools should endeavor to teach medical students the importance of team work, as many of them do not understand what team work should and ought to be. They should be made to understand that the cliché ‘’we are the head of the medical team’’ does not longer hold water, they should be taught to understand that the most important member of the health team is the patient, physicians should understand that you cannot lead somebody who never elected you to lead him.

I believe that becoming a consultant for all professional in the hospital is a must, by so doing, there would better understanding of disease and illnesses holding our patients hostage, I believe in professionalism.

The recommendations of the presidential committee on harmonization of the health sector should be fully implemented. This would go a long way in cushioning to the effect that the disharmony has on the patient, the federal executive council should (FEC) should go and dust that recommendation where ever they dumped it and fast track its full implementation.

The pharmacist council of Nigeria, the nursing and labouratory council of Nigeria should be more pro-active, assure their members of their commitment to their welfare, support them and at the same time respect other regulatory bodies. The association of general practitioners in Nigeria should understand that as long as they run hospitals in Nigeria where Nigerians come for treatment, such premises must be regulated by relevant bodies, Community pharmacist should stop diagnosing, just like the doctors should stop dispensing, lab technologist should not usurp the powers of the scientist, physicians should not encourage quackery by training people to kill in the name of auxiliary nurses and at the expense of professional nurses.

Conclusively, I believe that when we work as a team, when the patient gets well, we can all, with one voice shout GOOAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

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