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Teamwork, myth or reality: community nurses' experience with general practice attachment.
  1. L M McClure

    Abstract

    A survey of 93 community nurses, 48 health visitors, and 45 district nurses was carried out in one area health authority where nurses had been attached to general practice schemes for up to 10 years. The purpose of the study was to determine the nurses' impression of teamwork within their attachment arrangements. Half the group surveyed had either a geographical area or other area health authority responsibilities, or both, in addition to their primary attachment commitment. No structured plan for preparing or evaluating attachment groups had been carried out by the area health authority. Only one third of attached nurses were working from premises shared with other members of the attachment group, and often facilities were poorly designed for teamwork. Health visitors were generally less enthusiastic about attachment and identified more obstacles in developing teamwork than did district nurses. Health visitors also tended to stay with individual attachment groups for shorter periods than did district nurses. Most nurses communicated frequently with attachment group members, but these opportunities were unplanned and usually limited to immediate problems of patient care. In a few attachments patterns of communication and collaboration appeared to be non-existent. Despite the problems identified in this study, most respondents prefer attachment to working solely in a geographical area and value their links the area health authority. Evaluation and positive direction is needed if the primary care team is to develop.

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