What Is Interprofessional Education?

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Interprofessional education (IPE) is gaining traction in medical and healthcare institutions, reflecting advancements in training technology and a new emphasis on collaboration.

Interprofessional education encourages collaboration among medical and healthcare learners – medical, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, social work and many others – in order to provide better care to patients. Read more to find out how IPE encourages patient-centered care, explore the challenges of IPE and find out what the future holds for this type of education.

The Benefits and Challenges of Interprofessional Education
By starting to practice interprofessional communication as part of their clinical training, students are primed to continue this collaboration in the workplace. In a hospital setting, for instance, communication about patient care often exists in silos, with some parties receiving only partial or incorrect information. When medical students learn to consult other members of the team, miscommunication is diminished when they enter the workforce.

If interprofessional education is so beneficial, why isn’t it emphasized in medical and healthcare education? Though some schools have embraced IPE in their classrooms, many others face the challenge of assembling students in a single place for face-to-face training. These scheduling challenges are complicated by the need to work around students’ clinical hours. Most schools can’t spare the time to focus on supplementary training.

Another challenge educators face is the lack of available training content. While instructors at many schools create IPE content themselves, others struggle to find the time to write interdisciplinary training materials.

Ultimately, the benefits of improved patient care and valuable lessons for students outweigh any challenge schools face implementing IPE. Interprofessional collaboration in the classroom empowers team members to voice feedback and recommendations, ultimately providing patients with better care.

The Future of Interprofessional Education
New IPE solutions are emerging each year, making it easier for educators to provide the training students need. Virtual on-demand training solutions are available, eliminating scheduling and location constraints. Digital training also saves educators the time spent creating training materials themselves.

In contrast to TeamSTEPPS™ training, which is focused more on the active practitioner and collaboration in urgent care situations in hospitals, IPE education focuses on students and on comprehensive training for collaboration beyond the emergency room. With IPE education, interprofessional collaboration has already become second nature to students when they step into actual clinical settings. While some medical and nursing schools use TeamSTEPPS™, in the future you’ll see them move toward IPE training solutions.

IPE is a comprehensive, effective way to encourage collaboration among students and lay the groundwork for improved communication in the workplace. Make sure you’re giving your students the opportunity to learn collaboration in the classroom setting and take it with them to their professional environment.

Learn more about the future of IPE and how to find the best virtual training solutions to prepare your students for interprofessional collaboration in a free consultation.

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