In the current healthcare environment, team-based models in the teaching and practice of medicine have become more a norm than a preference. Renewed focus on team-based practice discloses the effect that poorly functioning teams may have on successful outcomes in team-based delivery of patient care. Team incompetence compromises learning and work performance for all members; an outcome often rooted in poor communication and understanding of role responsibilities within the team. Business schools have been innovative and proactive in recognizing this problem and have instituted team charters to align team expectations and norms through discussion and consensus. Team charters were introduced in Block 2 Microscopic Anatomy and Block 3 Human Structure courses at Mayo Medical School in the first year curriculum. Teams were oriented on the concept of the team-charter and given the opportunity to create individual team charters to suit each team’s work ethos. Teams were encouraged to revisit their charters midway through the course to maintain a dynamic contract. Students took time to reflect on and adapt their strategy in order to facilitate better team cohesiveness, communication, interaction and ultimate performance. Qualitative student feedback indicated that the exercise fostered better group dynamic and improved communication within the team. Students were empowered to take responsibility for their own learning, professional identity formation, performance, academic development and their impact on total performance of the team.
Keywords: Gross anatomy education; Medical education; Team-based learning; Team charters; Assessment
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