Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Collaboration (IPC) Definitions

Some definitions related to IPE and IPC:

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. Interprofessional education is a necessary step in preparing a “collaborative practice-ready” health workforce that is better prepared to respond to local health needs.

A collaborative practice-ready health worker is someone who has learned how to work in an interprofessional team and is competent to do so. Interprofessional collaboration happens when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers and communities to deliver the highest quality of care. It allows health workers to engage any individual whose skills can help achieve local health goals.

'Health worker' is a wholly inclusive term which refers to all people engaged in actions whose primary intent is to enhance health. Included in this definition are those who promote and preserve health, those who diagnose and treat disease, health management and support workers, professionals with discrete/ unique areas of competence, whether regulated or non-regulated, conventional or complementary. 'Professional' is an all-encompassing term that includes individuals with the knowledge and/or skills to contribute to the physical, mental and social well-being of a community.

Source: World Health Organization (2010): Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & collaborative Practice

  • Effective Interprofessional Education and Interprofessional Collaboration:
  • Work to improve the Quality of Care
    No one profession, working in isolation, has the expertise to respond adequately and effectively to the complexity of many service users' needs and so to ensure that care is safe, seamless and holistic to the highest possible standard.
  • Focus on the needs of service users and caregivers
    IPE and IPC put the interests of service users and caregivers at the centre of learning and practice.
  • Involve service users and caregivers More than that, it invites service users and caregivers to be active participants in planning, delivering, assessing and evaluating IPE and IPC, participation that helps to ensure that services meet the needs of those for whom they are designed.
  • Encourage professions to learn with, from and about each other interprofessional education and collaboration are comparative and interactive, taking into account respective roles and responsibilities, skills and knowledge, powers and duties, value systems and codes of conduct, opportunities and constraints. They cultivate mutual trust and respect, acknowledging differences, dispelling prejudice and rivalry and confronting misconceptions and stereotypes.
  • Respect the integrity and contribution of each profession IPE and IPC is grounded in mutual respect. Participants, whatever the differences in their status in the workplace, are equal as learners. They celebrate and utilise the distinctive experience and expertise that participants bring from their respective professional fields.
  • Enhance practice within professions. Each profession gains a deeper understanding of its own practice and how it can complement and reinforce that of others.
  • Increase professional satisfaction IPE and IPC cultivate collaborative practice where mutual support eases occupational stress, either by setting limits on the demands made on any one profession or by ensuring that cross-professional support and guidance are provided if and when added responsibilities are shouldered.

Reference:CAIPE 2002 (UK Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education)