CanMEDs Collaborator
Effective Collaborative Environment

Elements of effective collaborative environment

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High functioning teams have been characterized as having:

  • good communication patterns

  • low levels of conflict

  • high levels of collaboration, coordination, cooperation and participation


Collaboration is the PROCESS by which a team can function.  This process of collaboration requires understanding and defining in order to function effectively.  The CMPA has a position paper on "Collaborative Care" which looks at team issues from a medicolegal liability perspective. Issues such as defining the roles of the team members, understanding scopes of practice, maintaining the patient as a central member of a team need to be clarified when working in a team in order to optimize the outcomes and ensure accountability and minimize liability.








Describe a situation where you worked in a positive collaborative environment.


Describe a case where collaboration did not occur in a positive manner.


What are some of the pitfalls of collaboration?


What are some of the benefits of collaboration?




The College of Physicans and Surgeons on Ontario (CPSO) has clear guidelines for physicians regarding colleagiality.[1]  Colleagiality is the cooperative interaction between colleagues.  The colleagiality of relationships can affect the comprehensiveness and continuity of care patients receive, particularly through the referral and consultation process.  For  this reason, physicians should be colleagial in their dealings with one another as well as other members of the health care team.  Mutual trust, respect and knowledge of each other’s expertise, skills and responsibilities are all important to establishing colleagial relationships.


The CPSO also supports collaboration amongst professionals.  Two position papers clearly assert the importance of collaboration with nurse practitioners and pharmacists.



1. CPSO: The Practice Guide: Medical Professionalism and College Policies.

All references for this section