If you’re thinking about establishing a new interprofessional education (IPE) program at your institution – or expanding an existing one – you probably already understand some of the benefits of IPE. At its core, IPE encourages collaboration among healthcare learners (medical, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, social work, and many others) in order to provide better patient care.
But how can you successfully implement an IPE program? Read on for tips on how you can overcome the challenges and achieve your goals.
1. Educate yourself— and your champions
It’s a good time to become an expert in IPE. From peer-reviewed journals, professional organizations, and conferences and networking events, to online forums and social media, resources abound for educators looking to create a new or expanding an existing IPE program at their institution. Before you get started, be sure to do your research!
And if you’re still in the initial phase of compiling information to make the case for IPE, don’t forget to involve your champions. These representatives from each involved discipline help facilitate your IPE program’s deployment, including curriculum and competency development, learner recruitment, and program evaluation. Educated champions can also help overcome resistance to the idea of introducing simulation or IPE learning within their departments.
Online resources for IPE:
The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education: https://nexusipe.org/
Interprofessional Education Collaborative: https://www.ipecollaborative.org/
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/hrh/resources/framework_action/en/
2. Develop a multidisciplinary curriculum
IPE should enhance multidisciplinary knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes – review the 6-benefits of interprofessional collaboration. 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.
The demographics of your learner groups should also align with the learning objectives. Too few participants from different disciplines won’t accurately represent the clinical environment, and too many disciplines will decrease each participant’s chance to get enough practice and be active during the debriefing. Develop a balance, and adjust as needed.
3. Utilize virtual technology
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.
For IPE to be beneficial to your learners, several in-person IPE simulation events per year are needed. If that’s not an option for your institution, consider utilizing a virtual IPE learning platform to conduct training sessions anytime, anywhere. For best results, find an online program provider who will help you deploy a virtual platform with video conferencing technology and built-in chat functionality that can support your IPE workflow from start to finish.
Implement your IPE
Today’s healthcare learners are tomorrow’s clinical professionals. To reduce errors and improve outcomes, you need to help them graduate with the strong communication and collaboration skills they’ll need to flourish on a healthcare team and provide coordinated patient care.
Educate yourself, develop a truly multidisciplinary curriculum, and deploy leading-edge technology to successfully implement your IPE program.