The Oxford Dictionary online gives the definition of collaboration “the action of working with someone to produce something” and cites it origins to the Latin word collaborate ‘working together’. Wienstein ( 2003) suggests that collaboration is an opportunity for inter- professionals to share knowledge and experience to produce the best outcomes for service users. Leathard (2003) advocates that defined methods of collaboration support professionals to reflect on communication and behaviours while increasing the success of teams through collaborative problem solving. When applying this to health and social care a key reason for collaboration is to allow professions to come together as a team to share their expertise, knowledge and resources to deliver best practice for service users, families and carers. (Carnwell & Buchanan 2009). Trevithick (2000) advocates that collaborative working is at the core of the social work role, while Miles & Trout (2011) suggest that collaboration should be respectful, honest and purposeful, with shared objective and values within the team. Some of the major government documents and reports promote the concept of inter-professional and collaborative working. These include: Building Bridges (Department of Health 1995) Lamming Report (2009) Munro Report ( 2011), ) Working in Collaboration: Learning from Theory and Practice, (Williams & Sullivan 2007) and Collaborative Working, Inside Out A series of personal perspectives on government effectiveness Miles & Trout (2011)
Gardner (2005) opines that there are a set of fundamental principles that apply to collaborative working, which are : know thyself, learn to manage and value diversity, cultivate constructive conflict resolution aptitudes, use your knowledge to create win-win situations ,master process and interpersonal skills acknowledge the collaborative process is a journey, appreciate that collaboration can be spontaneous, balance unity and autonomy in collaborative relationships, be receptive to the learning from your collaborative successes and failures. Quinney (2005) suggests that élite teams can be as counter-productive as they can become less willing to seek feedback, reflect, and acknowledge mistakes. I feel that I bought a new voice and prospective to my ALS group as they had been working as group for a year before I joined them. I feel that through my past work and life experience that I have learned that entering an established group can often be challenging as the group often has its own established dynamics and members have their own roles within the group. I have observed in a previous working role that established teams as Quinney presents can become less willing to include new members and have a tendency to do things ‘ the way they have always been done’, which can often not be the latest researched or best way.
Within my ALS group there was a range of knowledge, experience and ages. I feel that I appreciated and valued this diversity within our group and gave me an opportunity to learn from those in the group who had more prior knowledge of the assessment process than I did. However as a new member of the group I did feel that if was more challenging to have my voice heard and that my opinion that loss and grief was a significant issue for the young person in the case study was to some extent over ruled by the member of the group who appeared to me as a new member of the group be the ‘leader’ of the group. As I was a new member to the group I did not feel it was appropriate to push my view forward especially as we were