Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

Moving Interprofessional Education Forward

The definition of Interprofessional Education: when students from two or more professions learn with, from and about each other, for the purposes of collaboration, to improve the quality of care. 

  • What concepts are needed to test "about" “with”, “from”, and “about” within the contexts of collaboration and quality of care? For example: how do collaborators think about their professions? How do collaborators talk about their professions? How do collaborators view the “good” of what they do? How do collaborators conceptualize their interactions?    

  •  Using theories & methods from other domains of scholarship we can: OBSERVE i.e. watch and record interactions and track changes [Anthropology]. QUESTION the participants in surveys, focus groups and deliberative dialogue [Sociology]. COST the interactions [Economics]. RECORD & ANALYZE communication [Linguistics]. MEASURE the start, mid-term and end points of IPE into collaborative practice [Statistics]. ORGANIZE behaviours [Psychology]. Examine the legal implications.

  •  If theories and methods from these and other domains can be applied, what would constitute a set of testable items? In almost all respects, the literature on IPE points to features of education, learning and practice that serve as barriers to IPE. That literature also frequently suggests mechanisms that might facilitate IPE. How might these then be articulated in curricular reform/change so that they might serve as testable items within the context “about, with and from”? Recognizing that measures need to be taken before, during and after the application of IPE, using both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. 

  •  It has been proposed that a reasonable theory of collaboration should provide conceptual opportunities to test assumptions that at the very least provide data on the relationship between different professional groups as expressed in the values and beliefs that their practitioners hold. The data would include, for example: an understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to collaborate and work in teams; an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of other health and human service professionals in a team i.e. what those professionals actually do in their work lives; and an understanding of the benefits of IPE/C to patients or clients, to the practice of a profession, and to an individual’s professional growth.

  •  As the community of interprofessional educators has matured over the past 50 years the need to develop its basis in scholarship has become increasingly important. The scholarship of IPE may find theoretical bases in a number of different academic disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, anthropology, economics, political science et al.     

  •  Learning from these disciplines may indeed help IPE to use their theories to develop models from which may be derived testable hypotheses, which may then be tested to provide data that hopefully lend credence and acceptability to IPE.