Case Example

The decision making process in a collaboration works best when you use proven strategies.

The following  brief scenario, illustrates how a successful primary care-public health collaboration demonstrated effective decision-making processes by involving the right people, keeping them informed about the choices to be made, and engaging them in the decision making process by using a consensus approach.


Public Health Nurse

A Public Health Nurse responsible for the Tobacco Cessation Education Campaign explained the decision-making process that occurred in her collaboration.

“It was clear that, if our education campaign endeavour were going to be successful, we needed to include all the primary care clinic staff to make our campaign decision.

As the Public Health Nurse, I was aware of the various tobacco cessation education campaign choices. The primary care manager explained that all the important players need to be involved in the decision about which campaign approach is selected. This inclusive approach with all the right players would be an enabler in the decision making process. Unfortunately, that meant involving all the primary care nurses and physicians in the community health centre.

However, since it was to be a choice as to whether the primary care practice would actually participate in the education campaign or not, the primary care manager and I decided to invest the necessary time to build consensus among the primary care staff.

Group meetingInitially, I started with the staff who knew the facts and supported the education campaign endeavour. Then slowly, I took the time to communicate with staff who seemed less interested.  It took a few more weeks but, in the end, I made the attempt to spend one-on-one time with each and every one of the primary care staff to explain the options, the strategies, and the implication of the various choices related to the tobacco cessation education campaign.

Finally, the primary care manager held a brief meeting and there was an open discussion about all the various strategies. Then, it was time to make a decision. We readily reached consensus to select one of the education campaign approaches.

The primary care nurse manager and I had selected a problem solving-decision making course of action to include all the primary care staff. We took the necessary time as I communicated effectively on an one-on-one basis in an effort to inform all the primary nurses and physicians.

By taking this approach, I was able to build relationships in the process, addressed concerns with outliers, and found this way was an enabler for success in selecting the best campaign design for our tobacco primary care-public health education campaign collaboration. Using an interpersonal one-on-one approach and a consensus-building strategy, the final choice was identified and supported by all.”