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Leadership Studies Essay on Trans-Disciplinary Medicine

Trans-Disciplinary Medicine


A trans-disciplinary study refers to a research or scientific inquiry whose aim is to integrate all disciplines as well as to synthesize different theories and contents that illuminate different study questions such as those of a healthcare setting. This approach and innovation arises from the increased complexity of problems in the science field that necessitates the need for addressing certain problems such as debilitating diseases and sustainability by taking a multi-disciplinary approach. Trans-disciplinary innovation should be differentiated from the multi-disciplinary innovation.

This is because trans-disciplinary approach entails the invention of new science in a group in order to complement a continuing scientific inquiry which may assist in directing scientists or the entire team that is involved in establishing the difference as well as the inquiry at higher levels that can facilitate the differentiation approaches in regards to questions that are relevant to the setting of a healthcare center.

In comparison, a healthcare team is like a sports team because the team or people that participate should know the responsibilities and roles of every player. They should also trust one another, learn and practice together in order to achieve positive outcome from their undertaking. This is exactly what trans-disciplinary approach entails. People come together from different health departments’ sections with an aim of solving a specific problem that may emanate from a single department. The aim of this case study is to address inter-disciplinary teams in a bedside setting of a healthcare unit.

It should be noted that health innovation in a trans-disciplinary setting entails reaching out to a void or space that exists in different disciplines within the healthcare setting. The aim of this is to realize positive collaboration by coming together. In order to achieve this effectively, different teams including nurses, physicians, social workers, physical therapists, physician assistants and practitioners of alternative medicine must work together. Care providers and community workers who may be participating in the provision of bedside healthcare should also be involved.

As such, trans-disciplinary approach advocates for a broader primary care idea in order to form a multi-player team that works in unison with an aim of alleviating the burdens that bedside patients may be enduring. Among the advantages of taking a trans-disciplinary approach is its role in improving education and support for the patients which eventually improves outcome. Trans-disciplinary innovation plays a significant role for the underserved people because it assists in patients’ training on how support network should be used in the provision of comprehensive care while addressing environmental and social needs of the bedside patients. Therefore, this paper addresses the impact that inter-disciplinary medicine may have on innovation at a healthcare setting’s bedside care provision and how it may be obtained as well as where it may be used in the cycle of a patient.

Trans-disciplinary innovation

Primary care has traditionally been perceived as involving different disciplines and specialties. It is vital to note that every specialty or department operates differently and it is separate from the others. This is why some practitioners are frustrated than others while working in a healthcare setting that is fragmented. A fragmented setting expects clinicians and nurses to change the outcomes or setting of healthcare. This is an impossible and unrealistic ideology because the patient-centered environment or atmosphere enhances the coordination or relationship of care of chronic management and representatives who include the bedside patients. Trans-disciplinary innovation can enhance health care support for bedside patients.

Several complexities faced by clinicians in terms of the current care provided to patients include aging population, chronic diseases’ prevalence, and increasing cases of diseases, oral connections and lack of basic health access by patients. These are some of the complexities that interdisciplinary teams can address (Hall & Weaver, 2001). Primary care should be expanded to include over 40000 physicians despite the fact that this estimation is below 20% of medical students who express interest in providing primary healthcare due to the involved workloads.

Physicians experience burnouts because of the patients’ demands. This makes the physicians’ ability to provide sufficient preventative care counseling and education to reporting patients difficult. The scarcity that is currently being experienced has necessitated trans-disciplinary innovation where care approaches by different healthcare disciplines are focused on the patients. Almost all health departments can apply this innovation in different disciplines in addressing the issues of healthcare.

Application of trans-disciplinary innovation

An inter-disciplinary team is made of practitioners from different professional areas. However, they share common patient populations and goals. They also have a responsibility that relates to complementing the task of each other. Despite being independent, communication among team members as well as the patients and their families join them. This ensures that different aspects of the health of the patient are addressed properly and integrated in care and treatment.

Interdisciplinary innovation may be applied in different places in a bedside care setting. It is also notable that different disciplines both non medical and medical are involved in the provision of services to the patients. An example of such an application is when the chaplain plays a role in the treatment as well as other medical and social health workers. In this case, the chaplain counsels the patients in an inter-disciplinary innovation setting. This role should not conflict with any other discipline that is involved in the provision of care and treatment.

This implies that a counselor ought to be allowed to execute his/her duties in collaboration with advice received from the other members of the team. The rules for harmonizing every member of the team, their contributions and time should be prescribed by the leaders of the team. Additionally, leaders should ensure the acceptability rates of the patients.

Inter-disciplinary approach may also be applied in a surgery setting. During surgery, different physicians, technological experts and nurses including assistants, non medical and medical professionals work together in managing the crisis.

How to get Trans-disciplinary innovation (is it learned)

The body of skills and knowledge that is required to offer comprehensive primary care is increasing in terms of complexity. This has increased specialization in the provision of health care (Larvin et. Al., 2001 P. 25-47). It is possible to teach inter-disciplinary education where the involved teams learn different skills including group skills, role blurring, and communication skills, conflict resolution as well as leadership skills. In trans-disciplinary innovation, role blurring entails the elimination of confusion which may arise from unidentified roles. Therefore, this shows that providers of healthcare including clinicians, physicians and the other personnel are defined in a way that enables each to play his/her specific role while providing primary care in order to avoid confusion and conflict in the healthcare setting.

Teaching group skills entails equipping the entire interdisciplinary team with essential skills that include working interdependently but objectively towards the provision of quality healthcare to patient. Communication skills play an important role in every form of teaching because poor communication can cause miscommunication or execution of wrong objectives. As such, the practitioners should have the right communication skills in order to work harmoniously and to provide various services to patients.

Practitioners are drawn from different disciplines. A common objective joins them together. Therefore, working without disagreements is difficult for them. This is why the team should have good conflict resolution skills as well as leadership skills. These skills enable the team to determine the appropriate avenues to use in solving conflicts when they have disagreements in order to realize their set goals. As such, health practitioners and students are able to transit from a multi-disciplinary approach to the interdisciplinary approach via different structures which include the provision of experience to practitioners and students.

Once you observe the collaboration of professionals while providing primary healthcare and tackling different health issues, one can learn more about team building, cooperation and coordination. Additionally, different professionals can be guided on the way to reflect the acquired experience by involving themselves in providing feedback regarding their observation which may prompt them to ask questions on collaborations which they may have experienced or witnessed. When students are asked to generalize or/and to describe how what they observed and experienced fit in their previous knowledge of the team by providing specific examples which represent the teamwork principles, they acquire something new that may enhance their interdisciplinary innovation’s understanding.

Finally, interdisciplinary innovation exposes students to new experiences which enable them to apply their new understanding of interdisciplinary approaches. For this learning to work best, members of the team should orient themselves to the team and learn how to negotiate different interdisciplinary team’s expectations. This is achievable if simulation models are used where students assume patients’ role because this will need demonstration and participation of healthcare practitioners as well as other staffs such as physicians, receptionists, pharmacists, social workers and various technicians (Mcclain, 2001 P. 419 – 428).

Additionally, there should be a professional practice model in which the preceptors articulate responsibilities and roles of being members of the team. This should reflect the roles based on the members’ experience in participating in a trans-disciplinary approach with different care professionals. It should be followed by a session where the students are permitted to participate in a trans-disciplinary team’s activities by being given responsibilities that include observation.

Therefore, students’ performance ought to be monitored carefully and feedback provided. Students in the setting ought to be assisted to reflect properly through a briefing session that highlights the issues of interdisciplinary approach after the preceptorship or simulation program. The performance of the students ought to be evaluated. They should also be assisted in summarizing the learnt tips during the entire process (Grmbach & Bodenheimer, 2004).

Training an interdisciplinary team entails bringing professionals from various disciplines together in order to deliver coordinated services. A major element that should be understood about interdisciplinary training is that it entails various perspectives, skills, knowledge, values and purposes of different professionals who the team represents. These professionals work collaboratively and interdependently in order to realize a common good for the team members and the patients.

During graduate and undergraduate medical education, learners should be accorded practical opportunities since care providers have opportunities to complement and overlap each other’s skills within their disciplines. They should also be offered a continuing education in order to impart skills and knowledge in the teams to prevent misunderstanding and role conflict.

Positive outcome of trans-disciplinary innovation

As demonstrated, when interdisciplinary innovation is executed properly it plays an important role of creating value for the patients, caregivers and the government among other parties that participate in the provision of care to the patients such as social workers and parents. Understanding the contribution of each discipline in the general health improvement plan is one benefit of trans-disciplinary approach.

Additionally, innovation enhances the collaboration of different teams which facilitates the provision of healthcare to patients. Patients realize positive outcomes that include care improvement because of the improved coordination. This also helps in solving different complex problems. Trans-disciplinary approach also integrates healthcare while empowering patients so that they can also participate in care provision. This approach may also be used in different cultures. It also facilitates proper utilization of time during care and treatment.

Another advantage of inter-disciplinary innovation is the increase in professional satisfaction during the process. It also facilitates a shift in emphasis from acute episodic treatment and care to long-term prevention or preventative care. Additionally, it enables practitioners to learn and improve their skills as well as approaches from other disciplines or the team. This makes them more innovative while focusing on their specific expertise areas.

Educators who may include students and counselors also give positive contribution in the inter-disciplinary medicine field. Educators and students’ contribution may be seen as fostering appreciation and understanding of other disciplines. This facilitates modeling of different strategies that may be used in future practices. Educators and students also participate in different studies that provide alternative approaches to alternative medicine’s study. This is an important approach because it promotes the participation of students. Trans-disciplinary approach also assists in the identification of challenges of the stakeholders and norms in the disciplines as well as the system’s values.

Delivery systems of healthcare are non medical parties in an inter-disciplinary intervention. Using an interdisciplinary approach enables the systems to use resources to the maximum. This is usually the case since the teams that are involved in service provision work toward the benefits of the other members of the team. They strive to remain efficient, effective and innovative. When interdisciplinary teams are implemented successfully, the burden of acute care setting can greatly be reduced due to an increase in the preventative care. The effectiveness leads to the enhancement of continuous improvement in quality. Therefore, interdisciplinary approach produces several positive outcomes which assist the involved parties in providing care.


There are many merits of inter-disciplinary team approach and as different authors describe, they include improvement in organizational effectiveness, improvement in the clients’ service, synergistic effects, mutual support, learning from different disciplines and maturation of the team from the interdisciplinary tension. Schofield and & Amodeo (1999) have also indicated interdisciplinary teams’ benefits. They indicated them as an increase in the awareness of a discipline that one is in, increased understanding and respect for other disciplines, cooperative research opportunities and establishment of a better cooperative mind-set (210-219).

There are additional benefits such as improvement in healthcare access for patients, enhanced efficacy for self care among patients and improvement in role satisfaction among practitioners. Other additives include reduction in length-of-stay as well as premature admissions and increase in workload for team members, relieved burdens, facilitated work and enhanced objectivity (Scholfield & Amodeo, 1999).

Teams of an effective interdisciplinary initiative decrease costs while improving patients’ satisfaction. They reduce mortality and morbidity by ensuring safety of patients while reducing errors. They also improve the general satisfaction of healthcare workers while enhancing professional relationship (Allen, Penn & Nora, 2006).

The main reason for creating trans-disciplinary teams is the fact that no single profession can cater for different aspects of patient care and ailments. As such, it is the responsibility of the teams to share healthcare loads by addressing issues collaboratively via sharing common functioning and goal in a trust principle among the members. It is the responsibility of a trans-disciplinary team to provide new innovation for the bedside patients because it facilitates collaboration of different teams. This enhances the quality of the provided care to bedside patients.

Additionally, this approach assists the parties and teams in cultivating creativity and openness by engaging in interdisciplinary consultations. Shared goals, values and leadership as well as other factors that include communication, management coordination and planning skills are enhanced by the innovations of the teams. Harmonization of various professional skills and knowledge assists in meeting different patients’ needs because they are designed according to their needs, care and intervention that they require.

Therefore, it crucial to note the complex social and medical needs of the increasing older population as well as the essence of a collaborative approach. Additionally, financing, communication, management and delivery of healthcare should be addressed differently in order to enhance adequate utilization of resources while addressing the needs of patients.



Allen, D. D., Penn, M. A., & Nora, L. M. (2006). Interdisciplinary healthcare education: Fact or fiction? American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 70(2).

Grumbach, K., & Bodenheimer, T. (2004). Can health care teams improve primary care practice?. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association,291(10), 1246.

Hall, P., & Weaver, L. (2001). Interdisciplinary education and teamwork: a long and winding road. Medical education35(9), 867-875.

Lavin, M. A., Ruebling, I., Banks, R., Block, L., Counte, M., Furman, G., … & Holt, J. (2001). Interdisciplinary health professional education: a historical review. Advances in Health Sciences Education6(1), 25-47

McCallin, A. (2001). Interdisciplinary practice–a matter of teamwork: an integrated literature review. Journal of clinical nursing10(4), 419-428.

Schofield, R. & Amodeo, M. (1999).  Interdisciplinary  teams in healthcare and human service settings: Are they effective? Health and social work 24(3), 210 – 219

Smith, N. (1985). Social work in team practice.  In P.J. Lecca and J.S. McNeil (Eds.), Interdisciplinary team practice: Issues and trends (pp. 97 – 123).  New York, NY: Praeger Publishers.


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