The Integrated Model for Interprofessional Education: A Design for Preparing Health Professions' Students to Work in Interprofessional Teams

By Grapczynski, Cynthia A.; Schuurman, Shelley et al. | Journal of Allied Health, Summer 2015 | Go to article overview

The Integrated Model for Interprofessional Education: A Design for Preparing Health Professions' Students to Work in Interprofessional Teams


Grapczynski, Cynthia A., Schuurman, Shelley, Booth, Andrew D., Bambini, Deborah, Beel-Bates, Cynthia, Journal of Allied Health


An important element in the process of helping students learn to work interprofessionally is figuring out how to design high-impact learning experiences that engage students in meaningful learning that is collaborative and experiential and can transform students understanding of their own and others' roles in the health care process. In this article, a model for interprofessional education, the Integrated Model for Interprofessional Education (IMIPE), is shared for introducing students in the health professions to the roles and responsibilities of some of the other healthcare professionals with whom they will work in practice. The IMIPE is a process model developed by an interprofessional faculty team used as the focal point of a pilot educational event for students from nursing, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, and social work. The IMIPE is a derived model that combines concepts of holism, participation, and practical education, grounded in the adult educational philosophy of progressivism. Progressive adult education is focused on practical knowledge and problem-solving skills. The model uses collaborative, experiential, and transformative learning approaches to foster outcomes of communication, critical reflection, teamwork, ethics, and recognition of patient-client needs. These outcomes represent those identified by the World Health Organization and the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel. J Allied Health 2015; 44(2):108-114.

THE IMPORTANCE of interprofessional education (IPE) has gained ground as a way to improve quality patient/client care.1 Interprofessional health care education is a topic of interest with a number of expert bodies, both national and international, including the World Health Organization (WHO),2 the Institute of Medicine,3 and the Health Council of Canada.4 While many groups and organizations have begun to address this issue, few educationally focused frameworks have been explicated for implementation and delivery of comprehensive, effective, interprofessional health care education.

Individual professionals in the health care workforce are numerous and include nurses, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists, physicians and physician assistants, social workers, therapeutic recreation specialists, and clinical laboratory scientists, to name the most common. While there are extensive discipline-specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes that must be acquired to become competent practitioners in each of these professions, there is also a need to be familiar with the roles of other health professionals and understand how individual services fit together to create shared outcomes in the delivery of patient/client-centered care.5 IPE has developed as the venue for this learning to take place.

Over the past few decades, many books and research studies6 have been published on the topic of IPE and interprofessional learning modalities. Recently, members of the WHO and its partners published Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (FAIECP).2 After reviewing several decades of inquiry, the authors concluded that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that effective IPE enables effective collaborative practice, and that collaborative practice strengthens health systems and improves health outcomes. The FAIECP2 identifies three broad themes that undergird high-level practitioner competence: a) IPE, b) collaborative practice, and c) health and education systems.

Two primary forces, educator mechanisms and curricular mechanisms, shape IPE. The focus of this paper is on the curricular mechanisms. According to the designers of the FAIECP,2(p24) "...interprofessional education is more effective when: a) principles of adult learning are used, b) learning methods reflect real world practice, and c) interaction occurs between students." Furthermore, curricula should link learning activities, expected outcomes, and learning assessments. …

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