The Ties That Bind: Camaraderie in Military Interprofessional Healthcare Teams

Meghan Hamwey, Karlen S. Bader-Larsen, Danette F. Cruthirds, Lara Varpio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Multiple aspects of interpersonal dynamics can help or hinder the success of teams, particularly those in a Military Interprofessional Healthcare Team (MIHT). One specific mechanism for MIHTs' success is camaraderie and how these military teams are able to achieve, maintain, and enable the development of this important characteristic. Despite our understanding of military service members as being bonded like a family, we have a limited understanding of how this bond is translated into their MIHT experiences. Materials and Methods: This study conducted interviews among 30 individuals who had participated in, led individual, and/or led many MIHTs, using a grounded theory methodology. Participants represented 11 different health professions, including officers and enlisted military members, and three branches of the U.S. military (e.g., army, navy, and air force). Data were collected and analyzed in iterative cycles until saturation was achieved. Results: We identified six themes that shaped the overarching concept of camaraderie in MIHTs. These themes were (1) confidence in competent peers, (2) shared goals, (3) mutual respect, (4) desire to help one another improve, (5) personal is professional, and (6) bonds of military service. This paper describes each of these themes, provides illustrative examples from the data, and describes how these components contribute to MIHTs' team dynamics. We present a model for how to understand these themes. Conclusions: Through the identification and exploration of these aspects of camaraderie, we are able to better understand how MIHTs are able to be successful. MIHTs that demonstrated confidence in their brother/sister in arms possessed shared goals and missions, while maintaining mutual respect, a desire to help one another do better, and creating a personal and professional overlap tended to form stronger bonds of military service. Critically, these six aspects support a more nuanced understanding of the spirit of camaraderie and how it underpins MIHT success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume186
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

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