5.6 Guiding Interprofessional Learning

There are a number of ways to guide students to think about interprofessional collaborative practice. These include:

  • Providing opportunities for students to describe their roles
  • Providing opportunities for students to compare their roles to the roles of other health professionals
  • Encouraging students from various professions to learn with, from, and about each other
  • Providing opportunities for discussion of the issues confronted by interprofessional teams
  • Encouraging exploration of how conflict related to these issues can be managed
  • Guiding discussion concerning the link between interprofessional collaboration and patient/client/family/community-centred care
  • Describing why interprofessional education and collaborative practice are important in your profession and work setting
  • Modeling for the student your positive interactions with other professionals and team members

As a preceptor, you can also pose questions to your students to promote critical thinking and problem solving around issues in interprofessional collaborative practice. The following questions, based on the National Interprofessional Competency Framework’s six competencies, may help guide discussion and reflection about interprofessional, collaborative patient/client/family/community-centred care:

Role clarification:
What are the unique knowledge/skills that the different providers bring to the table?
What are some of the sterotypes and assumptions people make about different professions?
What are some of the similarities and differences between the different professions?
Is there any overlap in roles? How would you address this?

Conflict resolution:
What circumstances lead to conflict in a team?
How does the team manage conflict?
How does conflict among team members affect client care?

Collaborative leadership:
How are members of the team engaged in decision-making?
How would you engage team members in decision-making?
Do leadership roles rotate among team members?

Patient/client/family/community-centred care:
Is the patient/client/famiy a member of the team?
How does the team partner with the patient/client/family?
How is information shared with the patient/client/family?

Interprofessional communication:
How effective is communication between team members?
How are shared care plans developed?

Team Functioning:
What are the dynamics of the group?
Does the team reflect on its functioning as a team?

Listen to Joanne Newell, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Yarmouth site of the Dalhousie School of Nursing, talk about the skills involved in facilitating interprofessional learning and the impact of IPE experiences on the students, the facilitator and the practice setting.

[1]Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative. (2010). A national interprofessional competency framework.
[2] Deutschlander S., & Suter, E. (2011). Interprofessional mentoring guide for supervisors, staff and students.