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Teamwork in mental health: rhetoric and reality

Stark, Sheila and Stronach, Ian and Warne, Tony (2002) Teamwork in mental health: rhetoric and reality. Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing, 9 (4). pp. 411-418. ISSN 1351-0126

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This paper offers a discussion of team-working in mental health. It is based upon a 2-year study funded by the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting. The authors advocate that team-working should be studied situationally. The paper begins therefore by highlighting contextual tensions and paradoxes that create potential problems for effective team-working. It is argued that team-working is better caught as opposed to being taught. This involves a layered reading of vignettes and case studies, as well as 'hands on' experiences of team-working. Such an approach foregrounds for inspection the complexities and dilemmas of policy, models of practice and team-working patterns. As a result, the students build their own evidence-base, which is not built on the ideal (or optimal) but is located in the real everyday habitus of individuals in healthcare settings. This, the authors feel, is more likely to shift terms such as team-working, partnerships and so on, from merely remaining a healthy rhetoric.

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