Collaboration: What is it like? – Phenomenological interpretation of the experience of collaborating within rehabilitation teams

By | 24th January 2012

Great article by: Croker, Trede, & Higgs (The Education For Practice Institute, Charles Sturt University



Although a core component of many current health-care directions, interprofessional collaboration continues to challenge educators and health professionals. This paper aims to inform the development of collaborative practice by illuminating the experiences of collaborating within rehabilitation teams. The researchers focused on experiences that transcended team members’ professional role categorizations in order to bring individuals and their lived experiences to the forefront. An inclusive view of “teams” and “collaboration” was adopted and the complexity and multifaceted nature of collaborating were explored through a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather data about experiences of collaborating in nine rehabilitation teams. Sixty-six team members across nine teams were interviewed. Eight interdependent dimensions, core to the experience of collaborating, emerged from the analysis of the data. Five dimensions expressed interpersonal dimensions of endeavorengaging positively with other peoples’ diversity; entering into the form and feel of the team; establishing ways of communicating and working together; envisioning together frameworks for patients’ rehabilitation and effecting changes in people and situations. Three reviewing dimensions, reflexivity, reciprocity and responsiveness, operated across the endeavor dimensions. By identifying meaning structures of the experience of collaborating, this study highlights the importance of seeing beyond team members’ professional affiliations and being aware of their contextualized interpersonal and activity-related collaborating capabilities.

For more information, please read the Journal of Interprofessional Care 
January 2012, Vol. 26, No. 1 , Pages 13-20.