Interprofessional education (IPE) encourages collaboration among medical and healthcare learners – medical, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, social work, and many others. It develops skills through simulation and experiential learning, allowing participants to gain a deeper understanding of each team member's role, and an awareness of how coordinated decision-making can improve patient care.
Synchronizing all the people, programs, and resources necessary for a successful IPE program rollout takes time and effort—but with the proper planning, it doesn't have to be a struggle.
Define your goals
Work to define your IPE program goals by answering the following:
- What disciplines should be included in your IPE program? Medical, nursing, physical therapy, behavioral health, social work, law enforcement—others?
- What are your learning objectives? What skills do your learners need to develop? Communication, collaboration, logistics and patient handoff—others?
- What competencies will be tied into your IPE scenarios? Interprofessional competency frameworks from groups like the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) and the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative (CIHC) offer sample IPE competencies that educators can use to define and build their program goals.
- Will your IPE curricula include didactic, deliberate practice sessions, in-person simulation events, or both? How often will these IPE sessions be held?
- How will you assess and provide feedback to your learners? How will you debrief?
No matter how simple or ambitious your interprofessional education plan is at the outset, it's important that you develop a plan, define your goals, and determine what resources you need to succeed.
Recruit your champions
When developing your IPE program, work closely with representatives from each involved discipline: these experts will become your interprofessional champions.
Interprofessional champions help facilitate each step of your IPE program's deployment, including curriculum and competency development, learner recruitment, and program evaluation. Champions can also help overcome resistance to the idea of introducing simulation or IPE learning, and engage and update administrators and faculty on program progress.
Develop your scenarios
Keep your IPE multidisciplinary! When developing your IPE scenarios, make sure you include content that's relevant to all involved disciplines.
IPE requires far more time, resources, and coordination than a simulation scenario for a single profession. To be successful, you must to ensure that your multidisciplinary learning objectives focus on enhancing interprofessional knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes, including communication, collaboration, coordination, team empowerment, and leadership.
Consider working with a vendor partner
Consider enhancing your program with a virtual IPE solution. Virtual, on-demand IPE training solutions make it easier for educators to create multifaceted training plans, streamline complex logistical needs, eliminate scheduling and location constraints, increase the number of IPE events per year, and lower costs. Digital training also saves educators the time spent creating training materials themselves.
Be prepared—and succeed
IPE is a comprehensive, effective way to encourage collaboration among learners, and lay the groundwork for improved communication in the healthcare workplace. No matter the disciplines involved, the goal of IPE is to improve patient care.
Coordinating all the people, programs, and resources necessary for a successful IPE program rollout takes time and effort—but it doesn't have to be a struggle.
Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how you can easily implement a virtual interprofessional education program at your institution.