Creating an integrated nursing team within primary healthcare : an action enquiry approach
This thesis is based on a journey towards developing team working within a primary healthcare setting which enabled the NHS agenda for primary care service delivery to keep pace with the government modernisation agenda. (Department of Health, 1997). Initially the focus was on the development of an integrated nursing team which enabled all disciplines of nurses to work towards a patient focussed healthcare service, but it soon became evident that all staff involved in delivering the primary healthcare service were essential to the process and developments of the enquiry if the objective was to be achieved. An action enquiry approach based on collaborative and participative action research (Carr and Kemmis, 1986; Lincoln and Guba, 1989; Cayer, 1997) was discussed and was the prime method of enabling changes to occur in the healthcare practice. This is represented by the interrelated four main cycles of enquiry that have emerged from the data, and discussed in this thesis. Key to the success of the developments was an understanding of team working and leadership as it applied within a healthcare setting and also the underlying dynamics, which are evident when different professional groups from different traditions and knowledge base work together. (Schon, 1983) This was explored within the context of a systems approach to organisational development and through reflective dialogue along the principles advocated for creating a learning organisation. (Senge, 1990) This thesis will demonstrate how confidence developed in myself and the practitioners, especially those from marginalised groups, and how the wider healthcare system made an impact on the developments within the practice. The area of leadership will be discussed from multiple perspectives and recognition that as a concept all stakeholders had a poor understanding of leadership. The key finding from this study identifies the need for a holistic approach to manage and sustain change, and indeed everyday productive working relationships. This especially identifies the importance of giving attention to the preparation of future healthcare workers, the appropriateness of organisational structures in which services are delivered and support structures available to those in team leadership positions.