What does it mean to work in a multidisciplinary team (referred to as; MDT)?
Working in a multidisciplinary team means, to have a diverse group of professionals working together under the same organisation, company or institution.
We, who work in the caring profession being it; a family therapist, a psychologist, a nurse or a counsellor, all form part of a MDT. First and foremost, when working in a MDT, all professionals would have a primary objective/goal as part of the team. For example; the MDT in a mental health clinic work with their service users to target mental health and to provide support to their clients in their specific needs.
Though it might be challenging sometimes, due to the nature of work of each professional, working in a MDT comes with its benefits. The following is a list of advantages of working in this kind of team:
- The client benefits from the expertise of an entire group of professionals – when working in a MDT, every so often team meetings are held. During these team meetings, a professional may wish to discuss a case with the team in order to reflect and benefit from the expertise of other professionals; whilst taking into consideration confidentiality to protect one’s client.
- Facilitation of referral process and service coordination amongst professionals – the client can benefit from specialised services under one roof. Let’s say a client is receiving one-to-one sessions by a therapist but needs to be referred to a psychiatrist since the client needs to take some medications, the therapist can refer the client to the psychiatrist working within the same team. This facilitates the process of referral and also minimises the waiting time to be seen by a psychiatrist, in this scenario. Also, with the consent of the client, the therapist can discuss and liaise with the psychiatrist about the care plan of the treatment so that the therapist would be able to support the client in his/her best interest. Communication amongst the professionals provide a uniformity of the service being provided.
- Holding on and feeling stuck – when a professional is supported by a team, it encourages the professional to hold on if the former is feeling helpless when goals are not being met. Furthermore, the team during the mentioned above case discussions, may give the professional the space to reflect whilst being challenged by the team in what is not working and why. Maybe the team can encourage the professional to try different techniques.
- Sharing of knowledge and specialisation – each specialised professional in a MDT can share one’s knowledge with the team through in-house training to improve the quality of service being offered to their clients.
As mentioned above, working in a MDT comes with its advantages. It’s like having one body with many brains which obviously makes it possible to reach more goals, when compared working on one’s own. Also, if the team is consolidated and each respects one another, it’s like having another family at work.
Rachel Osmond is a Family Therapist with Willingness who works with individuals, couples and families. She also has experience with children and adolescents.