is a decentralized system in which the care of a patient is distributed among the members of a group working in coordinated effort. The charge nurse delegates authority to a team leader who must be a professional nurse. This nurse leads the team-usually of 4 to 6 members-in the care of between 15 and 25 patients. The team leader assigns tasks, schedules care, and instructs team members in details of care. A conference is held at the beginning and end of each shift to allow team members to exchange info and the team leader to make changes in the nursing care plan for any patient.

From Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition.