Cross-Departmental Interprofessional Education: Overcoming Obstacles

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As an educator, you understand the need for interprofessional education (IPE), but you may be wondering how to overcome even common barriers to effective interprofessional education. Read on for tips on improving cross-departmental education practices at your institution.

Develop a common IPE goal

Interprofessional care allows clinicians to share knowledge and work toward a common goal: improved patient outcomes. Interprofessional education encourages each professional to learn the ins and outs of their teammates’ roles and responsibilities, making them better able to provide patient-centered care—a new gold standard described by the Institute of Medicine as treatment that is “respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.”

Clearly define your IPE curriculum

IPE requires far more time, resources, and coordination than a simulation scenario for a single profession. Coordinating an in-person event can be a daunting task – you should consider how IPE activities will fit in to each discipline or department’s schedule, how events will be organized, administered, and reviewed, and how participants will be debriefed. And when determining what learning objectives and content you’d like your IPE curriculum to focus on, don’t forget to consider the needs of each discipline involved.

Get assistance from technology

What’s in your IPE curriculum? What are the logistics for implementation? Determine your methodology, and think ahead to how you’ll organize and deploy your interprofessional education plan, whether it includes several large-scale, in person IPE events per year; virtual IPE training held often, anywhere, and anytime; or a combination of both. Also determine how you’ll schedule, assess, and debrief with your learners. In person events can be managed and recorded with AV-enabled simulation management technology, and virtual IPE can augment and streamline your on-site IPE program with the use of an on-demand, web-based IPE platform.

Outline grant funding requirements

When writing a grant for your IPE program, first identify resources and potential funding agencies. Your institution’s office of medical education may be able to assist you with finding funding resources and developing your proposal, or direct you to an internal grant program for faculty educational projects. Also examine how comparable institutions have implemented IPE, how they funded their programs, and if they received grant funds, how they sustained their curriculum after the grant period.

Establish buy-in from learners—especially difficult ones

Many educators find that when it comes to simulation, one of their biggest challenges is that they don’t know how to deal with difficult learners. Perhaps the learners mock or refuse to engage with the IPE event. To combat this, establish buy-in early on. When learners are committed to treating the IPE scenario like a real medical event, they’re better able to emotionally engage in the experience and express themselves during debriefing.

This ties in to the need for developing a sense of interpersonal support. Learners may feel vulnerable, exposed, or even scrutinized during the debrief, especially when they’ve made mistakes that will be on view during video playback of the IPE event. It’s essential to set the stage for learners to feel psychologically safe within the debriefing environment.

Schedule a free consultation to learn how simulation management technology can help you implement a leading interprofessional training program.

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