Advancing skills and attitudes for interprofessional collaboration

“Learning about, from and with each other”

Background to Interprofessional Learning and Collaboration

In General Practice and indeed in other sectors of healthcare services multiple professionals come together to deliver different aspects of a person’s care.

To do this effectively, safely and in a patient-centred way, professionals require to work in collaboration.

WHO 2010: “Collaborative practice happens when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers and communities to deliver the highest quality of care. It allows health workers to engage any individual whose skills can help achieve local health goals.”

Unfortunately, collaboration in Primary Care (and undoubtfully within other health care settings) is often found to be deficient.

When considering Interprofessional Collaboration various common themes are described in the literature:

  • Communication
  • Professional and social relationships
  • Trust and respect
  • Role appreciation and awareness
  • Shared values
  • Belief and commitment to IPC
  • Patient as part of the team/Shared Decision Making
  • Reflectiveness/Flexibility

Inter-professional Learning/education events (IPE) can play a role in improving these important professional skills.

The WHO (2010 p. 17) concludes that ‘after almost 50 years of inquiry, there is now sufficient evidence to indicate that IPE enables effective collaborative practice ……….”.

IPE interventions can be aimed at improving a variety of attitudes/skills and knowledge eg.  knowledge on a clinical subject, attitudes towards other professions, skills to communicate effectively, aspects of patient care etc. IPE interventions are often based on a multitude of educational and methodological theories. But in principle: “IPE occurs when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care.” (CAIPE 2002)

When should IPE start? There is evidence that students often arrive in first year with stereotyped thinking about other professions which can stand in the way of future collaboration.  (S. Rink 2003) (S. Cooke 2003). Therefore, IPE should start early in any UG course.

Learning how to effectively collaborate with other professionals is included in the ‘outcomes of graduates of the GMC (2018):

The opportunity to work and learn with other health and social care professionals and students to support interprofessional multidisciplinary working f placements that enable them to become members of the multidisciplinary team, and to allow team members to make reliable judgements about their abilities, performance and progress (GMC Promoting Excellence Standards P34)

Clinical placements:  the opportunity to work and learn with other members on the team to support interprofessional multidisciplinary working (p36)

IPE during GP placements

The GP clinical attachment is ideally placed for Interprofessional learning as there are often students from various professions attached to a Primary care team at the same time and their learning will be synchronised.

Also, as a UG student you will be working and learning from various health care professionals within the primary care team.

Planned Interprofessional learning events:

  • Session 3 during ‘Orientation to GP’
  • Social prescribing and Creative writing events
  • ‘students’ lead’ clinic for patients with Chronic disease
  • ‘follow the script’ activity
  • Weekly lunch time IPL event

References and further resources:

CAIPE. Centre for the advancement of interprofessional

Link to various IPL/IPE organisations

Cooke S. ea. (2003) ‘I never realised that doctors were into feelings too’: changing student perceptions through interprofessional education. Learning in Health & Social Care. Sep2003, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p137. 10p.

GMC 2018. Outcomes for Graduates.

Shared-decision making/IPC and he patient voice:

WHO (2010) Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice.;jsessionid=6556C256672D93DE0AA1DC486F8DC466?sequence=1