The Institute of Interprofessional Health Sciences Education will be a virtual learning center supported by four universities and the Council of Ontario Universities (COU).
The Institute will offer web-based learning modules on key topics that will facilitate interprofessional knowledge and skill development for health professional students and practicing health professionals. The Institute is envisioned as having two complementary streams with different target groups: (a) Pre-licensure Student Stream and (b) Practice Stream.  The Pre-licensure Student Stream will target learners in selected health sciences professions: medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech language pathology and audiology. Learners from these professions will interact initially via on-line learning modules, and ultimately face-to-face, to learn and practice skills associated with well functioning teams. The Practice Stream targets clinicians who will learn how to role model effective team behaviors, and facilitate these behaviors both in-house and with learners from the various health professions.

Pre-licensure Student Stream
The student experience will consist of two elements: learning via interactive Web-based learning modules followed by clinical practice experiences. As the literature indicates one of the biggest barriers to interprofessional learning at the pre-licensure phase relates to time table conflicts, web-based courses that can be completed asynchronously were chosen to  allow students to access the learning modules at times that are most convenient to them.   Web-based learning will be complimented by interprofessional clinical placements with teams that have been targeted to participate in a team development and facilitation process.

Practice Stream
The Practice Stream targets health providers who will learn how to role model effective team behaviours and facilitate these behaviors both in-house and with learners from the various professions.   Each of the academic partners has recruited a clinical partner to participate in the development and piloting of the Practice Stream. McMaster University will partner with Hamilton Health Sciences.  Each team will nominate an individual to assume the role of Interprofessional Education Facilitator (IPEF).  The IPEF will be responsible for:

  1. liaising with the steering committee
  2. participating and evaluating the training process;
  3. implementing the training process with their team; and
  4. facilitating interprofessional learning with student learners.

In the long-term, the IPEF will develop expertise related to the facilitation of collaborative practice within both a clinical team and groups of learners.  The IPEF will be a resource to the clinical partner and ultimately be available to facilitate interprofessional collaboration on other teams within the institution should that institution wish to capitalize on their expertise.

E-Learning Modules
Students will be interacting via the Internet under the supervision of a faculty facilitator. The learning modules will be based upon problem-based learning principles. Patient/client scenarios will be used to illustrate concepts, facilitate discussion, and promote integration of learning.  Interprofessional learning will be a thread through the scenarios.  These will be carefully designed to promote questions and learning objectives around scope of practice, knowledge/skill needs, professional roles and team decision-making.  As the ultimate goal is to influence team communication to ensure that clinical decisions are client-centered and safe, the problems will also promote clinical decision-making around issues related to patient safety. There will be two types of learning modules: those that are generic (e.g. communication skills and team practice) and those that are related to specific practice or patient type (e.g.palliative/end-of-life care).

A set of modules will be designed to support the health professionals participating in the Practice Stream in creating the culture to support interprofessional work.  With the assistance of the IPEFs,  on-line learning modules and group discussion will be used as a means to share learning experiences across sites, promote group problem solving and provide mutual support throughout the project.

A comprehensive evaluation using quantitative and qualitative measures will be integrated throughout the project.  Evaluation of the student stream will include process and content of the learning modules, student values, knowledge and attitudes towards interprofessional education and practice and satisfaction.  Evaluation of the practice stream will include measures of team process and performance and knowledge and attitudes towards collaborative practice. 










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Inerprofessional Education Initiatives: Working together across disciplines