From Talking the Talk to Walking the Walk: Do’s and Don’ts of Interprofessional Education
The Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (WHO, 2010), and an increasing number of publications thereafter, have identified the need for collaborative practice to strengthen health-care systems and ensure the highest quality of care for patients. An integral step in training collaborate practice-ready providers is developing interprofessional education.
Over the past 9 years, the Cleveland VA Medical Center’s Transforming Outpatient Care - Center of Excellence (TOPC-COE), an interprofessional program for physician, nurse practitioner, nursing, psychology, pharmacy, and social work trainees, has been implementing and testing innovative approaches for interprofessional education.
Utilizing a quality improvement methodology, our interprofessional curriculum evolved, based on the incorporation of learner, faculty, and shareholder feedback. Strategic educational decisions were made to ensure that learning opportunities mapped onto our curricular competencies: shared decision making, interprofessional collaboration, continuous quality improvement, leadership, social determinants of health, and professional satisfaction which occur in the context of didactics, workplace learning, and reflective practice.
Education is dynamic, and innovation rarely progresses in a linear fashion. Throughout the development of this curriculum, many lessons were learned about learning, teaching, and engagement. Though not an exhaustive list, several themes emerged during this journey. First, environmental and logistical factors can impact participation and teaching efficacy, as can the involvement of interprofessional experts. Second, acknowledging hierarchies present in healthcare settings can be an important step in building effective interprofessional relationships. Finally, defining interdisciplinary learning objectives, creating content relevant to all learners, and focusing on skills that are applicable to all trainees are imperative components in maximizing team cohesion and preparing learners to be effective interprofessional leaders providing high-value care.
Ultimately, throughout the creation of this curriculum, our team re-imagined historically uni-professional learning strategies into interprofessional ones and innovated new interdisciplinary approaches to teaching. This evolution remains an active process, and we continuously strive to improve our teaching methods, as effective interprofessional education is critical to training providers who utilize collaborative, patient-centered practices that result in coordinated, longitudinal care.