What is Interprofessional Education?
"Occasions when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care."
Why do we need Interprofessional Education?
Teamwork in health care is often referred to as Interprofessional Practice. Interprofessional practice results in the collaborative, comprehensive care that our clients/patients value and expect.
The goal of interprofessional education is to prepare health professional students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for collaborative interprofessional practice.
Health Professional Collaborator Competencies
- roles of other health professionals
- communicating with others
- reflecting upon my role and others
- mutual respect
- willingness to collaborate
- openness to trust
An educational continuum
Think of the following types of education as a continuum. Movement along the continuum is characterized by increasingly complex knowledge and appreciation of professions other than one's own. 2
1 According to the UK-based Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education.
- Uniprofessional education (UPE): Students are all from the same discipline or profession. The mastery of a specific body of knowledge, types of skills and modes of conduct are emphasized.
- Multiprofessional education (MPE): Various disciplines are brought together to understand a particular problem or experience. They afford different perspectives on the issue at hand. For example, aging may be conceptualized as a physical or biological process, a psychological process or a set of characteristics.
The World Health Organization (1988) defines MPE as the process by which a group of students from the health-related occupations with different educational backgrounds learn together during certain periods of their education with interaction as an important goal. Its key objectives are the specific team competencies needed to ensure effective team functioning.
- Interprofessional education (IPE): Students from various professions learn together as a team. Their collaborative interaction is characterized by the integration and modification of different professions' contributions in light of input from other professions.
The hallmark of IPE is the type of cognitive and behavioural change that occurs: participants understand the core principles and concepts of each contributing discipline and are familiar with the basic language and mindsets of the various disciplines. Prior to participating in IPE, students must have basic knowledge and skills related to their own profession.
2 These definitions are based on Clark, P.G. (1993), Journal of Interprofessional Care, 7(3), p. 219-220.
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