This paper examines the challenges involved in commanding a field hospital. There are frequent, dynamic tensions between the military culture that is based on a task-focussed, hierarchical structure and the clinical culture that is based on flat, process-focussed, multidisciplinary teams. The paper outlines the cultural environment of the field hospital and then examines the deployment sequence whereby a functioning clinical facility may be created from a group of disparate individuals. There are a number of tools that may assist with this including the personality of the Commanding Officer, individual skills, the creation of an organizational identity and the choice of command structure.
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