Integrating Interprofessional Education into Clinical Settings: A Shift to Developing Collaborative Networks
Shared understanding of interprofessional collaboration (IPC) skills can bridge education and practice and build collaborative workplace culture (Bainbridge and Regher, 2015). Unfortunately, IPC ‘is not a tradition for many disciplines and organizations in the health system.’ and ‘for many collaboration must be taught and rehearsed’ (Bainbridge and Regher, 2015, pg 52). Although interprofessional education (IPE) has been integrated into accreditation requirements for many health science programs (AIPHE, 2010), the intentional integration into contextually authentic settings is largely inconsistent.
The traditional approach to IPE has been to prepare health professional students to join existing effective collaborative health teams with an emphasis on developing collaborative group behaviors and skills, such as team function and shared decision making. Unfortunately, effective collaborative teams in practice do not ‘consistently exhibit optimal levels of collaboration’ (Bainbridge and Regher, 2015), thus students are prepared for idealized teams that may not exist in practice.
An alternative approach is to teach how to develop, nurture and maintain effective collaborative networks in any context, regardless if there is an effective collaborative team present (Bainbridge and Regher, 2015). The shift from preparing students for idealized teams to collaborative networks requires individual skill development in building social capital, perspective taking, negotiating priorities, and conflict management (p 51) in order to be IPC ready. Supporting preceptors with specific structures and frameworks to integrate IPE for student learning with a focus on developing the skills needed to foster collaborative networks will improve student readiness to learn and practice interprofessionally, regardless of the team setting.
This talk will outline initial strategies and lessons learned and spark discussion about addressing the shift to nurturing collaborative networks in clinical settings.