Becoming a Better Interprofessional Practitioner: How Does it Happen; What is the Impact

Friday, 25 July 2014: 11:25 AM

Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD, LLD (hon), OONT
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada
Irmajean Bajnok, RN, MSN, PhD
International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Programs, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada
Althea Stewart-Pyne, RN, BScN, MScN
International Affairs and Best Practice Guidleines Program, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada

Interprofessional care is comprehensive care provided by multiple health-care professionals working collaboratively within their scope of practice and it is important in all health-care settings to enhance health outcomes and patients’ experiences, reduce costs and facilitate a healthy work environment for all providers. Interprofessional models of care have been gaining attention as the healthcare system seeks a model that is patient-focused and emphasizes health-care professionals working collaboratively within their full scope of practice.

Interprofessional care in a healthy work environment is a product of synergy among health-care teams, who demonstrate expertise in its six key domains, fundamental for transforming work environments to a collaborative interprofessional environment. The six themes are: 1. Care expertise; 2. Shared power; 3. Collaborative  leadership; 4. Optimizing profession, role and scope; 5. Shared decision making and 6. Effective group functioning.  When interprofessional care has been successfully implemented and sustained, continuous improvement quality and safety occur on three levels—for patient/clients, for interprofessional providers and for the organization and system.  

There are many evidence-based  processes that can be used to enhance interprofessional care. To do this individuals practitioners can contribute to interprofessional practice cultues by: 

  • Practising and collaborating with colleagues, patients/clients and families in a way that fosters respect, trust and understanding;
  • Understanding their roles and expertise, reflecting on their practice, being confident in their own abilities, and expertise, knowing the standards and boundaries of their practice and recognizing when it’s time to turn to other team members; and
  • Developing communication and conflict-management skills.

Teams of interprofessional staff are often acutely aware of the power differentials that exist when they work actoss disciplines.  It is important for teams to:

  • Building a collaborative environment through recognizing and understanding power and its influence on everyone involved;
  • Creating balanced power relationships through shared leadership, decision making, authority, and responsibility;
  • Including diverse voices for decision making;
  • Sharing knowledge with each other, openly; and
  • Working collaboratively with patients/clients and their families to plan and deliver care.

It is important for all heath care professionals to be aware of their contribution to the interprofessional team and their "team intelligence quotient".  This presentation will incorporate a discussion of power as it relates to the interprofesional team, and an opportunity for self assessment of the six interprofessional competencies.