About IPE:

Interprofessional Education is about health professional program students learning how to practice together effectively in collaborative teams. Where, all members of teams are respected for their knowledge and skills.  Where the patient’s (client’s) views are solicited and valued within the team.  Resulting in improved communications and working relationships.  And for those who receive care: enhanced safety, more effective care leading to greater health professional and client satisfaction and improved outcomes.

To be able to participate in collaborative teams requires students to learn about not just their own discipline, but also about what other disciplines bring to the care interface with our patients (clients).  The Center for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE) defines IPE as occurring…

“when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care”  (CAIPE, 2002).

Thus, IPE is not achieved by simply having different disciplinary groups of students sit in the same classroom, to learn a common subject.  It requires four levels of active learning: (a) gaining the knowledge needed about each other’s disciplines to work together; (b) gaining experience working through case studies, as a collaborative team; (c) gaining collaborative team practice in simulated situations; and (d) gaining clinical experience with actual patients (clients) as a collaborative team.

IPE is closely tied to interprofessional collaborative client-centred practice (IPCP).  It lays the foundation for effective collaborative team practice that is client-centred.  IPCP is defined as…

“Interdisciplinary practice involves a partnership between a team of health professionals and a client in a participatory, collaborative and coordinated approach to share decision-making around health issues” (Orchard & Curran, 2002)

The question arises why should we change from the current model?
Several factors have been cited including: communication problems, fragmented care, missed tests, and patient safety issues, all resulting from the current multidisciplinary approach to care.  A further issue is the growing number of people in our society with chronic health challenges. Many are the result of recent advances in technology.  Previously, many of these individuals may not have survived.  At the same time, managing their health needs to maintain their highest level of health feasible requires team approaches.  As CAIPE states:

“no one profession, working in isolation, has the expertise to respond adequately and effectively to the complexity of many service users’ needs and so to ensure that care is safe, seamless and holistic to the highest possible standard.”










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Inerprofessional Education Initiatives: Working together across disciplines