Perseverance: An Essential Trait of Military Interprofessional Healthcare Teams

Holly S. Meyer, Steven J. Durning, Karlen S. Bader-Larsen, Meghan Hamwey, Lara Varpio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Perseverance - doing something despite difficulty - is an asset to healthcare professionals, yet not all providers display this trait. The literature offers no conceptualization of perseverance as it relates to military caregivers. This research sought to explore the perseverance displayed by members of military interprofessional healthcare teams (MIHTs) and to construct a framework for explaining the role of perseverance in MIHTs' collaborative work. Methods: Using Grounded Theory, this interview-based study collected insights from 30 individuals who had participated in MIHTs and/or led MIHTs. Participants represented 11 different health professions, both officers and enlisted military members, and three branches of the U.S. military (i.e., Army, Navy, and Air Force). Data were collected and analyzed in iterative cycles until theme saturation was achieved. Results: We identified practices through which perseverance was exhibited by members of MIHTs: (1) humility, (2) mission focus, (3) team effort, (4) failure is not an option, (5) comfort with discomfort, and (6) continuous improvement. We then clustered these practices into three subcategories, reflecting how certain practices may connect to support MIHT perseverance. Conclusions: These six practices appear connected in significant ways to support the MIHTs' efforts. Humility, mission focus, and team effort can help team members collaborate as a unified and mutually supportive team. From this base, MIHTs seemed able to become comfortable with discomfort and to refuse failure as an option. These orientations then allowed the team to engage in continuous improvement. Together, these practices may enhance team perseverance and ultimately team performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


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