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Health care is a team sport

This is an excerpt from Interprofessional Education and Collaboration by Jordan Utley,Cindy Mathena & Tina Gunaldo.

By Jordan Hamson-Utley

Health care is a team sport. Just as sport requires athleticism and sport-specific skills operating in synergy toward a goal, health care teams require captains, diverse skill sets, and coordination to improve a patient's health. In basketball, could a team of only point guards beat a championship team? This might be the health care equivalent of a team of only PTs providing care for a patient after a stroke, for example. Additionally, IPCP is essential for health care teams to achieve patient care goals. Each position on a team requires a unique set of skills; without a point guard, a basketball team would lack leadership, ball vision, communication, and a 3-point scoring threat. Similarly, without a case lead, a care team would lack leadership, planning, communication, and an opportunity to win by providing the best patient care possible.

Graduating team-ready health care professionals requires seasoned educators, those who are experts in best practices not only in the classroom but also in IPE facilitation. As a result of limited experience in IPE facilitation, many educators are slowing the adoption of IPE1 and potentially limiting the capacity of graduates to be ready to practice in a contemporary workplace. Literature to date is limited (but growing) in the area of faculty development for IPE, and existing research is not adequate to consider any method a best practice.2 However, promising findings across existing methodologies indicate the value of modeling IPE knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs); group work; reflection; and appreciation of diversity.1

Educator development is a critical component in the effective delivery of IPE. For an interprofessional team to achieve its purpose, it must capitalize on the diverse knowledge and skills of the team. Delivering educator training in a collaborative framework affords exposure to teammates that promotes learning about each other, from each other, and with each other to devise strategies and solve problems related to classroom delivery or team-based patient care. The literature has established that continuing education that isolates health care professions prevents clinicians from developing collaborative capacities that meet the challenges of today's workplace.3,4 Programs that deliver learning using a teaming approach are best positioned to benefit from the role models and networks that are built into this approach. Faculty and clinicians who are expected to engage in IPE and the team-based learning of future clinicians must be supported with the knowledge and skills necessary to design and facilitate IPE.5