About Interprofessional Education
In order to fully understand IPE it is important to understand Interprofessional Collaboration (IPC). The literature describes IPC as “…the process of developing and maintaining effective interprofessional working relationships with learners, practitioners, patients/clients/families, and communities to enable optimal health outcomes. Elements of collaboration include respect, trust, shared decision making, and partnerships” (CIHC, 2010). IPC has demonstrated enhanced patient care and patient outcomes; and for clinicians, lower stress levels and greater job satisfaction (WHO, 2010). IPC can be achieved through the coordinated implementation of Interprofessional Education. IPE exists when two or more professions learn with, from, and about each other to improve the quality of care (WHO, 2010). IPE aims to provide students with skill set and acumen to work together effectively for the patient.
The IPE approach stems from the complex and multifaceted nature of the patient’s needs as well as the ever-changing landscape of the health care system. Research demonstrates that effective collaboration amongst multiple health care professionals is essential for the existence and persistence of an all-encompassing and comprehensive health care approach (Bridges, 2011). It is clear that the team helps the patient and many educational institutions across Canada are implementing and imbedding IPE activities to help augment any formal and/or informal interactions between students. Across the literature, a clear theme emerged; “that a successful experience among any IPE activity allows students to understand their own professional identity while gaining an understanding of other professional’s roles on the health care team” (Bridges, 2011).
According to the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative, IPE “…has the potential to enhance practice, improve the delivery of services and make a positive impact on patient care.” IPE is a process that teaches students how to collaborate across professions. The benefit for our students is that they will be able to master their communication, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, teamwork and leadership skills thus aligning well with our strategic plan and graduate profile.
Often incorrectly paralleled to an interdisciplinary approach, IPE is different. In order to highlight this difference, it is important to remember that a discipline is different than a profession. Whereas a discipline is an academic division of knowledge, a profession is an occupation, vocation, or career that requires special education. Knowing this, interdisciplinary means the interaction between disciplines in order to gather information, work together, and solve a problem. An interprofessional approach is truly the relationship that is created amongst its users. The purpose of an interprofessional approach is still to interact and work to a common goal, yet when the common goal is the health of the patient, a relationship between professions needs to be formed. To add to this, the word interprofessional can be used to describe the specific overlaps between the professions in the aid of the patient. Whereas the interdisciplinary approach is widely used in education across the CEGEP network, the use of an interprofessional approach is not.