What is Interprofessional Education?

“Interprofessional education occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Once students understand how to work interprofessionally, they are ready to enter the workplace as a member of the collaborative practice team. This is a key step in moving health systems from fragmentation to a position of strength.”


Source: World Health Organization (WHO). (2010). Framework for action on
interprofessional education & collaborative practice. Geneva: World Health Organization.



Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice


.At a time when the world is facing a shortage of health workers, policymakers are looking for innovative strategies that can help them develop policy and programmes to bolster the global health workforce.


The Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice highlights the current status of interprofessional collaboration around the world, identifies the mechanisms that shape successful collaborative teamwork and outlines a series of action items that policy-makers can apply within their local health system.


The goal of the Framework is to provide strategies and ideas that will help health policy-makers implement the elements of interprofessional education and collaborative practice that will be most beneficial in their own jurisdiction.





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In 2009 six national education associations of schools of the health professions formed a collaborative to promote and encourage constituent efforts that would advance substantive interprofessional learning experiences to help prepare future health professionals for enhanced team-based care of patients and improved population health outcomes.


These organizations that represent higher education in allopathic and osteopathic medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and public health created core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice to guide curricula development across health professions schools.


Although the panel focused its recommendations on the professions of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, and public health, the IPEC is engaging other health professions with the release of its final report. Visit Website


IPE Interprofessional Portal   IPE Interprofessional Portal

High quality, peer-reviewed, competency-based learning modules for interprofessional health education. 


Bullet  Team-Based Competencies, Building a Shared Foundation for Education and Clincal Practice

“The time is right.” noted Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., HRSA Administrator, “Our resources are limited, and it’s our obligation to determine and apply our health resources as effectively and robustly as possible in ways that produce better care outcomes for patients. As the health care community is looking for new strategies, and new ways of organizing to optimize our efforts–teamwork is fundamental to the conversation.” - Report, pg 10


Bullet  Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Competencies

Four general competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice and the example behavioral expectations.


Bullet  Advancing Interprofessional Clinical Prevention and Population Health Education

A curriculum development guide for health professions faculty. Linking the clinical prevention and population health curriculum framework wth the core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice.





Core Competencies

The core competencies were developed by an interprofessional panel formed by IPEC in 2010. The panel’s goal was to identify a common set of competencies that would advance substantive interprofessional learning experiences and help prepare future clinicians for team-based care.


PDF- Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice


1  Values and Ethics:

Work with individuals of other professions to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values.


VE1. Place the interests of patients and populations at the center of interprofessional health care delivery.

VE2. Respect the dignity and privacy of patients while maintaining confidentiality in the delivery of team-based care.

VE3. Embrace the cultural diversity and individual differences that characterize patients, populations, and the health care team.

VE4. Respect the unique cultures, values, roles/responsibilities, and expertise of other health professions.

VE5. Work in cooperation with those who receive care, those who provide care, and others who contribute to or support the delivery of prevention and health services.

VE6. Develop a trusting relationship with patients, families, and other team members (CIHC, 2010).

VE7. Demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct and quality of care in one’s contributions to team-based care.

VE8. Manage ethical dilemmas specific to interprofessional patient/ population centered care situations.

VE9. Act with honesty and integrity in relationships with patients, families, and other team members.

VE10. Maintain competence in one’s own profession appropriate to scope of practice.

2  Roles and Responsibilities:

Use the knowledge of one’s own role and those of other professions to appropriately assess and address the healthcare needs of the patients and populations served.


RR1. Communicate one’s roles and responsibilities clearly to patients, families, and other professionals.

RR2. Recognize one’s limitations in skills, knowledge, and abilities.

RR3. Engage diverse healthcare professionals who complement one’s own professional expertise, as well as associated resources, to develop strategies to meet specific patient care needs.

RR4. Explain the roles and responsibilities of other care providers and how the team works together to provide care.

RR5. Use the full scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities of available health professionals and healthcare workers to provide care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable.

RR6. Communicate with team members to clarify each member’s responsibility in executing components of a treatment plan or public health intervention.

RR7. Forge interdependent relationships with other professions to improve care and advance learning.

RR8. Engage in continuous professional and interprofessional development to enhance team performance.

RR9. Use unique and complementary abilities of all members of the team to optimize patient care.

3  Interprofessional Communication:

Communicate with patients, families, communities, and other health professionals in a responsive and responsible manner that supports a team approach to the maintenance of health and the treatment of disease.


CC1. Choose effective communication tools and techniques, including information systems and communication technologies, to facilitate discussions and interactions that enhance team function.

CC2. Organize and communicate information with patients, families, and healthcare team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology when possible.

CC3. Express one’s knowledge and opinions to team members involved in patient care with confidence, clarity, and respect, working to ensure common understanding of information and treatment and care decisions.

CC4. Listen actively, and encourage ideas and opinions of other team members.

CC5. Give timely, sensitive, instructive feedback to others about their performance on the team, responding respectfully as a team member to feedback from others.

CC6. Use respectful language appropriate for a given difficult situation, crucial conversation, or interprofessional conflict.

CC7. Recognize how one’s own uniqueness, including experience level, expertise, culture, power, and hierarchy within the healthcare team, contributes to effective communication, conflict resolution, and positive interprofessional working relationships (University of Toronto, 2008).

CC8. Communicate consistently the importance of teamwork in patientcentered and community-focused care.

4  Teams and Teamwork

Apply relationship-building values and the principles of team dynamics to perform effectively in different team roles to plan and deliver patient-/population-centered care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable.


TT1. Describe the process of team development and the roles and practices of effective teams.

TT2. Develop consensus on the ethical principles to guide all aspects of patient care and team work.

TT3. Engage other health professionals—appropriate to the specific care situation—in shared patient-centered problem-solving.

TT4. Integrate the knowledge and experience of other professions— appropriate to the specific care situation—to inform care decisions, while respecting patient and community values and priorities/ preferences for care.

TT5. Apply leadership practices that support collaborative practice and team effectiveness.

TT6. Engage self and others to constructively manage disagreements about values, roles, goals, and actions that arise among healthcare professionals and with patients and families.

TT7. Share accountability with other professions, patients, and communities for outcomes relevant to prevention
and health care.

TT8. Reflect on individual and team performance for individual, as well as team, performance improvement.

TT9. Use process improvement strategies to increase the effectiveness of interprofessional teamwork and team-based care.

TT10. Use available evidence to inform effective teamwork and team-based practices.

TT11. Perform effectively on teams and in different team roles in a variety of settings.

Operational Definitions

Interprofessional Education:
“When students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve the quality of care.”


Interprofessional Collaboration :

The process of developing and maintaining effective interprofessional working relationships with learners, practitioners, patients/clients/families and communities to enable optimal health outcomes.

Interprofessional Collaborative Practice:
“When multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care”


Interdisciplinary Healthcare Team:

Teams involving two or more health professions with complementary sills assessing, planning, or evaluationg patient care.

Interprofessional Teamwork:
The levels of cooperation, coordination and collaboration characterizing the relationships between professions in delivering patient-centered care.

Interprofessional Team-based Care:
Care delivered by intentionally created, usually relatively small work groups in health care, who are recognized by others as well as by themselves as having a collective identity and shared responsibility for a patient or group of patients, e.g., rapid response team, palliative care team, primary care team, operating room team.

Professional Competencies in Health Care:
Integrated enactment of knowledge, skills, and values/attitudes that define the domains of work of a particular health profession applied in specific care contexts.




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