5 Reasons Nurses Must Excel at Interprofessional Collaboration

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Interprofessional collaboration encourages healthcare professionals of all disciplines to work together in patient-centered care. 

For nurses, interprofessional education (IPE) may begin in school, with educational opportunities for intentionally designed interactions with students of other disciplines. These core IPE competencies help prepare nurses to practice deliberate, high-stakes collaborative care in the field.

Explore these five reasons why nurses must excel at interprofessional collaboration.

1. Nurses Must Practice Effective Communication

Healthcare delivery is becoming increasingly team-based. 

During a typical hospital visit, a patient will meet with multiple practitioners, including nurses, doctors, physician’s assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, and social workers, among other disciplines. This can lead to charting errors, care overlap, and misdiagnoses – but there’s a solution: effective communication.

Nurses must have excellent communication skills for talking not only with patients, but also with the care team. Effective communication reduces redundancy and error and improves quality outcomes, patient experience, patient safety, and use of resources.

2. Nurses Must Work Within a Continuum of Care

Nurses are positioned to lead and partner in teams that provide services across the continuum of care (hospitals, ambulatory care, public health, schools, long-term care, and home health). They can also excel within specific roles on a care team, providing a unique perspective on the patient’s treatment plan. 

Because many nurses begin learning how to work on teams as a part of IPE training in nursing school, they’re better able to understand how different disciplines work – and learn from them.

3. Nurses Must Work to Reduce Inefficiencies in Treatment

Interprofessional care helps cut down on overlap and redundancies in patient care. An interprofessional team may make clinical rounds together, or meet to debrief and develop patient care plans.

With their consistent, direct patient care role, nurses have a unique opportunity to observe treatment in real time. They can make observations relating to patients and their environment, reduce inefficiencies in treatment, and give feedback to their interprofessional team.

4. Nurses Must Become Champions for Collaboration

Modern healthcare institutions take interprofessional collaboration all the way up to the administrative level – from the bedside to the boardroom. Nurses may take leadership roles on hospital committees and become more active advocates for patient-centered care, or even help develop or expand interprofessional collaboration modalities at their institutions.

5. Nurses Must Put Patients First

The ultimate goal of successful interprofessional education is improved patient care. Nurses make up the largest segment of the healthcare profession, with approximately three million registered nurses currently practicing in the United States. 

No matter where they’re employed, all nurses must put patients first, working on multidisciplinary teams as patient advocates with an understanding of each patient as a whole. 

The Opportunity to Strengthen Interprofessional Collaboration Through Nursing 

Because they’re often the center of patient care, nurses have the opportunity to focus on collaboration across disciplines. Today’s hospitals and nursing schools can improve outcomes by including interprofessional education in their continuing education programs and curricula. 

Learn more about the benefits of interprofessional collaboration for today’s nurses.

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