Teamwork is something that most of us understand intuitively. The American Heritage Dictionary defines teamwork as “a cooperative effort by the members of a group or team to achieve a common goal.” It is likely that we would all verbalize our own definition somewhat differently, but the meaning and feeling would probably be similar. Examples of successful teamwork abound, including the best sports teams, accomplishments of charitable organizations, and many business endeavors. Certainly, the US Army has done as much as anyone for promoting a consciousness of teamwork within our culture. But how does teamwork relate to hospitalists, critical care nurses, and hospital medicine? How does it impact the care of our patients? And how does teamwork affect the systems of care within a hospital, and our role in it?

Hospitals have traditionally been places where departments of professionals...

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