VII Glossary

Admission: Refers to an initial visit or contact with a client.

Brief: A short session to share a plan, discuss team formation, assign roles and responsibilities, establish expectations and climate, and anticipate outcomes and contingencies.

Closed-loop communication: A communication strategy used to ensure that information conveyed by the sender is heard by the receiver and completed.

Communication conflict: Occurs when there is a failure in the exchange of information.

Continuity of care: The use of information on past events and personal circumstances to make current care appropriate for each individual.[1]

Cultural diversity: A term used to describe cultural differences among clients, family members, and health care team members.

Cultural humility: A humble and respectful attitude toward individuals of other cultures that pushes one to challenge their own cultural biases, realize they cannot possibly know everything about other cultures, and approach learning about other cultures as a lifelong goal and process.[2]

CUS statements: Assertive statements that are well-recognized by all staff across a health care agency as implementation of the two-challenge rule. These assertive statements are “I am Concerned –  I am Uncomfortable – This is a Safety issue!”[3]

Debrief: An informal information exchange session designed to improve team performance and effectiveness through reinforcement of positive behaviors and reflecting on lessons learned after a significant event occurs.

DESC: A tool used to help resolve conflict. DESC is a mnemonic that stands for Describe the specific situation or behavior and provide concrete data, Express how the situation makes you feel/what your concerns are using “I” messages, Suggest other alternatives and seek agreement, and Consequences are stated in terms of impact on established team goals while striving for consensus.

Discharge: The completion of care and services in a health care facility and the client is sent home (or to another health care facility).

Ethical conflict: Occurs when individuals or groups have fundamentally different beliefs and values.

Feedback: Information is provided to a team member for the purpose of improving team performance. Feedback should be timely, respectful, specific, directed towards improvement, and considerate.[4]

Goal conflict: Happens when the objectives of individuals or groups are incompatible.

Handoff reports: A transfer and acceptance of patient care responsibility achieved through effective communication. It is a real-time process of passing patient specific information from one caregiver to another, or from one team of caregivers to another, for the purpose of ensuring the continuity and safety of the patient’s care.[5] 

Horizontal aggression: Hostile behavior among one’s peers.

Huddle: A brief meeting during a shift to reestablish situational awareness, reinforce plans already in place, and adjust the teamwork plan as needed.

I’M SAFE: A tool used to assess one’s own safety status, as well as that of other team members in their ability to provide safe patient care. It is a mnemonic standing for personal safety risks as a result of Illness, Medication, Stress, Alcohol and Drugs, Fatigue, and Eating and Elimination.

Interdisciplinary care conferences: Meetings where interprofessional team members professionally collaborate, share their expertise, and plan collaborative interventions to meet client needs.

Interprofessional collaborative practice: Multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds working together with patients, families, caregivers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.

I-PASS: A mnemonic used as a structured communication tool among interprofessional team members. I-PASS stands for Illness severity, Patient summary, Action list, Situation awareness, and Synthesis by the receiver.

ISBARR: A mnemonic for the components of Introduction, Situation, Background, Assessment, Request/Recommendations, and Repeat back.[6],[7]

Mutual support: The ability to anticipate and support team members’ needs through accurate knowledge about their responsibilities and workload.

Personality conflict: Arises from differences in individual temperaments, attitudes, and behaviors.

Role conflict: Arises when individuals have multiple, often conflicting, expectations associated with their roles.

Shared mental model: The actions of a team leader that ensure all team members have situation awareness and are “on the same page” as situations evolve on the unit.[8]

Situation awareness: The awareness of a team member knowing what is going on around them.[9]

Situation monitoring: The process of continually scanning and assessing the situation to gain and maintain an understanding of what is going on around you.[10]

STEP tool: A situation monitoring tool used to know what is going on with you, your patients, your team, and your environment. STEP stands for Status of the patients, Team members, Environment, and Progress Toward Goal.[11]

TeamSTEPPS®: An evidence-based framework used to optimize team performance across the health care system. It is a mnemonic standing for Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety.[12]

Two-challenge rule: A strategy for advocating for patient safety that includes a team member assertively voicing their concern at least two times to ensure that it has been heard by the decision-maker.

  1. Kim, S. Y. (2017). Continuity of care. Korean Journal of Family Medicine, 38(5), 241.
  2. American Nurses Association. (2021). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (4th ed.). American Nurses Association.
  3. AHRQ. (2020, January). Pocket guide: TeamSTEPPS.
  4. AHRQ. (2020, January). Pocket guide: TeamSTEPPS.
  5. Starmer, A. J., Spector, N. D., Srivastava, R., Allen, A. D., Landrigan, C. P., Sectish, T. C., & I-Pass Study Group. (2012). Transforming pediatric GME. Pediatrics, 129(2), 201-204.
  6. Institute for Healthcare Improvement (n.d.). ISBAR trip tick.
  7. Grbach, W., Vincent, L., & Struth, D. (2008). Curriculum developer for simulation education. QSEN Institute.
  8. AHRQ. (2020, January). Pocket guide: TeamSTEPPS.
  9. AHRQ. (2020, January). Pocket guide: TeamSTEPPS.
  10. AHRQ. (2020, January). Pocket guide: TeamSTEPPS.
  11. AHRQ. (2020, January). Pocket guide: TeamSTEPPS.
  12. AHRQ. (2020, January). Pocket guide: TeamSTEPPS.


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