CASE 12.2 They Dominated the Conversation
The local cancer center has a health team designed to coordinate the care of children with cancer. The team is composed of a physician, Dr. SherifHidyat (a clinical oncologist); a radiologist, Dr. Wayne Linett; a nurse practitioner, Sharon Whittling; a social worker, Cathy Ing; a physical therapist, Nancy Crosby; and a child life worker, Janet Lewis. The team members meet on a weekly basis to discuss the 18 children under their care and agree on the best course of treatment for each child. Cathy Ing, the social worker, is the head of the team and is responsible for the case management of each child. However, when the team meets, Drs. Hidyat and Linett dominate the conversation. They feel that their medical background gives them greater knowledge and skill in treating cancer in children. They welcome input from the women in the group. When it comes to making a decision, however, they insist on doing it their way for the good of the patient. Cathy Ing (the social worker), Janet Lewis (the child life worker), Nancy Crosby (the physical therapist), and Sharon Whittling (the nurse practitioner) resent this behavior because they are the health care workers who spend the most time with the children and feel that they know best how to handle their long-term care. As a result, the patients feel as if no one cares or understands them. The team is also having trouble working together, and no one on the team is satisfied with the outcome.
1. How would you assess the effectiveness of this team?
2. In monitoring this team, at what level and function do you see the most serious problems? Internal task? Internal relational? External?
3. Would you take action to improve team functioning? If so, how would you intervene? Why?
4. What specific leadership skill or skills would you use to improve group functioning?