#OTalk research chat – 6th July 2021 – “The Dream Team: what makes an excellent research team?”

This #OTalk research chat will be hosted by @REfLECTS_Study and @AlisonA13414330, with @preston_jenny on the #OTalk account.

Twitter handles for the Dream Team: 

@REfLECTS_Study, @YvonneCodd, @StapletonTadhg, @bevaturtle, @PatriciaMac16, @LoureneAbbi, @Feemo15, @AlisonA13414330

Twitter handles for the even Dreamier Team:

@CamilaQuel, @geo_fish93, @dr_epower, @traboccant

Recently, we had the absolute privilege of hosting a one-week, virtual, stroke bootcamp event for Allied Health Professionals from all over the UK and Ireland. The concept for the bootcamp arose from the preparatory training activities we had undertaken in preparation for delivery of our randomised controlled trial in mirror box therapy with sub-acute stroke patients – the @REfLECTS_Study.  We had benefitted from this training and were of the opinion that a similar intensive and immersive training programme would benefit other therapists working in the area of stroke rehabilitation.

Whilst we received many very positive comments throughout the week about the content of the bootcamp, we were not really prepared for the exceedingly complimentary comments about our @REfLECTS_Study team, including being labelled a ‘dream team’.  

This has led to much reflection about what makes a ‘dream team’ and whether we are deserving of that title? 

Our large team of 18 members comprises clinical and healthcare support staff, academics, researchers, technical and business support staff. The team began to develop 10 years ago and have been working together since then; firstly on a small scale pilot study and subsequently growing into a multi-centre, cross jurisdictional, RCT study team.  

We know our team ‘works’ but we hadn’t really stopped to considered why it works so well. 

When we carried out some debriefs after the event, the unanimous comment from all of the team members we spoke to was that the feeling of belonging to part of the team was considered important but that the support and encouragement team members had given each other during the week was truly valued. This included pushing each other out of comfort zones and challenging each other to embrace new activities.   This was commonplace as we were in a wholly new environment – delivering training in a TV studio and presenting live to camera. During the week of the bootcamp the team cohesiveness was evident with each individual drawing upon their own unique set of knowledge and skills to perform to the highest level. This cohesiveness was somehow transmitted across the virtual environment to the trainees at the other end side of the virtual screen. 

However, we also noted in our debriefing session that another team we were working with during the bootcamp gave us a tantalising glimpse into a further level of collegiality with respect to supporting individual research learning and performance. In fact, we began to somewhat jealously wish that we belonged to that team!  The team from @UTSPhysio, led by Dr David Kennedy (@traboccant) were conducting a series of focus groups on unilateral neglect during the week. As local collaborators, one of our team members joined each focus group session. We noted that at the end of each group, the team members actively sought feedback on their individual performance from the other team members in an attempt to develop their own skills, no matter how junior or senior their perceived position in the team.  In response, the other team members would gently suggest changes in approach or enhancements to individual performance which were all warmly and eagerly received. 

At risk of losing some of my own team members to Australia, as lead of the @REfLECTS_Study group, it has propelled me into reflecting upon what makes a (clinically focused) research team excellent? 

Questions to debate during the OTalk hour:

  1. What are your experiences of working within (or alongside) a clinical research team? 
  2. What factors do you think facilitate clinical research team cohesion? 
  3. What barriers can be encountered by working within a clinical research team and how can they be overcome? 
  4. What actions do you think the team leader can take to support each team member enhance their own performance within the team? 
  5. What actions can the individual team member take to develop their team performance? 
  6. Thinking of a (clinical or research) team that you have been part of, what one aspect do you feel was the key to overall team excellence? 


The Numbers

1.852M Impressions

219 Tweets

30 Participants

9 Avg Tweets/Hour

7 Avg Tweets/Participant 

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