Case Example

Case Example: Smoking Cessation Program

This short case example illustrates the importance of role clarity and how it impacts collaboration.
No Smoking IconThe setting is in a primary care office with an interdisciplinary team in an urban/rural community with a population of 100,000. Both the primary care physician and nurse practitioner saw the need for and the value of setting-up a smoking cessation program for their patients.

This project was initiated at an interpersonal level between the physician and the nurse practitioner. The nurse practitioner contacted the nurse manager at the public health unit to help them set up a program and received a positive response. The goal of this program was to establish an effective smoking cessation program.

Roles, Responsibilities and Flexibility
For these nurses, their roles, responsibilities, and mandates needed to be identified, understood, and agreed upon from the start. The nurse practitioner and the nurse manager agreed that there needed to be room for flexibility and adaptability in their roles. Since both of them had previously worked in the other sector, they understood how work in public health and in primary care can be extremely busy from time to time.

Other Considerations
Another consideration was that new staff members had recently started at the primary care practice and the Public Health Unit. Consequently, the primary care nurse practitioner and the public health manager organized an orientation for new staff about the tobacco cessation program: The content included details related to their roles.

All members involved in the smoking cessation program had a common understanding and agreement of roles and mandates.  As well, staff understood that they would need to be flexible and adaptable in their roles at times, such as during flu immunization campaigns.

Overall, role clarity contributed to the success of this primary care – public health smoking cessation program.