Black female doctor leading medical team
ATD Blog

Teambuilding in Healthcare: Q&A With Pamela Mann

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The ATD Talent Development and Training in Healthcare Handbook (ATD Press, November 2021) addresses the many opportunities and challenges TD professionals face in the growing and rapidly changing healthcare space. Effective talent development is the thread that weaves through an entire healthcare organization to ensure it is up to standard with the latest practices in treating patients while providing a safe and engaging environment for staff. TD professionals have the unique role of tying together organizational and employee advancement in healthcare systems—and likewise, this handbook dives into areas for both business and professional evolution.

Written by 25 fellow healthcare practitioners with extensive experience in the field—from nurses, physicians, and administrators to instructional designers, chief learning officers, technology experts, and leaders across the industry, it covers six key themes across 26 chapters:

  • Learning and Development Basics
  • Organization Development
  • Employee Development
  • Business Acumen for the Health System
  • Digital Transformation and Literacy
  • Patient-Centric Care

Pamela Mann.png
Pamela Mann, clinical learning consultant with University Health System, is the author of the chapter focused on teambuilding in the ATD Talent Development and Training in Healthcare Handbook. In this spotlight Q&A, learn more about Mann and her contribution to the book.

How have your experiences in organization development and teambuilding influenced best practices in your chapter?

It’s funny you should ask because when I was asked to write this chapter, my first reaction was, “I don’t know anything about teambuilding!” My mentor reminded me to reflect on all the years of experience I have as a TD professional and as a nurse. I’ve worked for University Health (UH) for 28 years, and I’ve seen a lot! Working in an academic medical center/Level I trauma center environment offered me 28 years of incredibly enriching experiences learning what works and what doesn’t—not only in my own team but other teams at UH. This chapter is a summation of many of the best practices and what’s worked in my experience. (I thought it was a good idea to exclude what didn’t work!)


With shifts in healthcare organizational priorities, how do you foresee advancement in teambuilding (in other words, how do you see this area flourishing for employee or organization development)?

It’s clear to me that we must continue to build upon what we know about teambuilding. Having an awareness of those internal and external factors in the world and in our immediate environment that may have an impact on teams will position us to plan proactively. The pandemic is a perfect example. Teams were given little time to think about ways to keep themselves engaged, connected, and moving forward. We can take some of the lessons learned from this last 18 months and ensure that teams are built, sustained, and nurtured in response to a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.


What is something unexpected you learned or encountered while working on this book?

Well, for one, I found out that I really knew more about teambuilding than I thought! All that I needed were the prompts I discovered by doing an extensive literature search. It was professionally enriching to read the multitude of articles out there! I’ve always been a lifelong learner, and the concentrated period of time that I worked on the teambuilding chapter was incredibly fulfilling. I took away so much from this experience personally and professionally by collaborating with other authors and the editorial team for this book. The one thing that drove me throughout this creative process was the knowledge that my experience—my words—would make a significant impact on others in the training and development field.

Is there something you are proud of accomplishing in the past year (professionally or personally)?

Yes! I met one of my longtime professional goals. I have always wanted to learn how to deliver training virtually but had never known how to get started. And there wasn’t that much of a demand for virtual training for most of my career. That all changed when the pandemic was declared. Our team had to learn and execute virtual training for our large general and nursing orientations in two weeks, and a redesign of our other soft skills classes would follow. Being pushed into this so quickly was stressful for me, and through tremendous support from my team, we did it! Eighteen months later, I am proud to say that I am a part of a team that delivers world-class virtual training.

What is a fun fact about yourself or one sentence of advice you’d like to share?

A fun fact about me is that I have six rescue cats: four ragdolls, a Siamese, and a Himalayan. All were very interested in me as I worked on my chapter at the kitchen table. Picture me at the kitchen table with my laptop computer with one cat in my lap, the others walking across my keyboard, nuzzling my screen/pen, and more. What a scene! While I tend to shy away from giving advice, I will take this opportunity to encourage all to take opportunities that come your way. I am so very glad I did!

About the Author

Niranjani Chidamber Papavaritis is the Head of Content for ATD's healthcare and government industry verticals, and the Manager for ATD's global conferences and strategy. In her role, she is responsible for content and product development, partnering with SMEs and executives to create a suite of training resources through blogs, magazine articles, webinars, books, and events. Prior to working at ATD, Niranjani served as a business development advisor at Optum (under UnitedHealth Group). Her specialities include healthcare management, organizational development, business development, and content strategy. Niranjani received a degree in political science and information systems from UMBC, in Baltimore, Maryland.

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This chapter is one of my favorite chapters in the book. Pam did an outstanding job of synthesizing her years of experience in nursing staff development into a practical guide to teambuilding in health care.
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