Healthcare is turning into a sector that is currently seeing the integration of different professions, and it is for this cause that partnering is becoming a necessity. Interprofessional education (IPE) provides an probability to foster this collaboration. It is basically where two or more professions be a part of to learn together, from and about each other to beautify teamwork and improve care outcomes (Nester, 2016; Reeves, 2016). IPE is very valuable in healthcare schooling as it ushers students into the real clinical field. It additionally allows students to interact and meet new human beings from diverse professions which help in understanding the function of each profession in the healthcare sector. Its implementation in the curriculum at an early stage like at the University level will be effective and feasible in fostering this understanding. However, positive outcomes are to an extent determined by the competence of the instructor giving the course. An incompetent lecturer may focus on one group, one that they are familiar with leaving out other groups and this makes them feel left out. It also enlightens on how the beliefs and attitudes in one profession influences other professions in the same workspace. IPE has been known to foster collaboration and understanding among the different professions (Telford & Senior, 2017) .
The only disadvantage is the challenges students face while taking IPE which may hinder positive outcomes. It creates an illusion of isolation, if one finds themselves alone amidst members of different professions. Integration of various age groups into a common IPE session demoralizes the younger students as the mature ones tend to dominate these sessions and are bent on viewing issues from their perspective. The representation of different professions simultaneously tends to make students anxious and fearful as they anticipate conflicts between different professions and as they also become defensive of their own professions creating competition (Telford & Senior, 2017)
Multidisciplinary teams are essential in todays clinical care environment, and focus has now turned to IPE. IPE has become the wave of current and future education as it will play a role on training caregivers on how to take part in care teams. As different professions are converging, it is imperative to strike a balance earlier, when still in school rather than only when one enters professional practice (Telford & Senior, 2017). Individuals taking IPE will respect other professions, and this will eliminate competition. It will also enable them to build relationships, interdependencies, and interconnections that are required for the optimal delivery of healthcare services (Nester, 2016)
As IPE congregates students from various professions and individuals of different personalities, a good IPE will incorporate team building strategies and ice breaking events to create familiarity. Once this is achieved, continued interaction informs them of their different roles, and this stimulates teamwork important in clinical practice. In professional practice, IPE is geared towards developing teams that will coordinate care given to patients, educate them on self-care and how to manage chronic conditions, and also diagnose and treat conditions.
IPE teaches caregivers that the patient is central in the healthcare process. It is beneficial to patients as meeting their needs require the input of a multi-professional team (Nester, 2016; Telford & Senior, 2017). Patients will benefit from cost-effective treatment as collaboration in the caregiving team reduces the chances of wrong diagnosis; hospital acquired infections and missed complications (Nester, 2016). Interprofessional teams also give patients access to information from different disciplines which enables them to make the best decisions as they also contribute to decisions regarding care provided to them. Patient satisfaction will also be achieved as each team player will be accountable in their responsibilities.
Nester, J. (2016). The Importance of Interprofessional Practice and Education in the Era of Accountable Care. North Carolina Medical Journal, 77(2), 128132. https://doi.org/10.18043/ncm.77.2.128
Reeves, S. (2016). Why We Need Interprofessional Education to Improve the Delivery of Safe and Effective Care. Interface – Comunicação, Saúde, Educação, 20(56), 185197. https://doi.org/10.1590/1807-57622014.0092
Telford, M., & Senior, E. (2017). The Experiences of Students in Interprofessional Learning. British Journal of Nursing, 26(6), 350354. https://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2017.26.6.350