Developing inter-professional learning: Tactics, teamwork and talk

Begley, C. M. (2009) Developing inter-professional learning: Tactics, teamwork and talk. pp. 276-283. ISSN 02606917 (ISSN)


Teamwork and collaboration between all health professionals results in high quality clinical care, and increased job satisfaction for staff. Encouraging inter-professional learning (IPL) may be advantageous in developing more effective teams. There is little rigorous research in this area, but many small uncontrolled studies do demonstrate positive results. IPL involves structured learning opportunities that enhance problem-solving abilities and conflict resolution. It should be clearly differentiated from shared teaching (or multidisciplinary/multiprofessional learning), where common content is taught to many professions without any intention to develop interaction. To counteract the sometimes negative attitudes in both students and staff, educators need to commence IPL early in the programme, base it in both theoretical and clinical placements and ensure that it is valued and assessed. Difficulties with timetabling and accommodation need to be solved prior to commencement. A facilitator should be employed, and a team of committed lecturers developed, with an emphasis on teamwork and the discouragement of individualism. Opportunities for student interaction and ways of improving group dynamics within non-threatening learning environments should to be sought, and instances of conflict embraced and resolved. Future IPL programmes should be rigorously evaluated and may demonstrate enhanced inter-professional relationships and improved quality of patient/client care. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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