IPE in Action

Ongoing and recent interprofessional experiences

Below we present some great examples of ongoing and recent IPE student experiences. IPE experiences help our students to achieve the four IPE learning outcomes:

  1. Appraise the relationship between one’s own profession and the background, scope and roles of other healthcare professionals.
  2. Evaluate one’s ability to work in a team.
  3. Participate collaboratively as a health team member to support patients’ / clients' achievement of their expected health outcomes.
  4. Assess the impact of the broader legislative and ethical framework on interprofessional practice.

IPAL – Interprofessional Peer-Assisted Learning

Peer-assisted learning, also known as peer teaching, is a widely accepted approach to uni-professional learning in health sciences professions. This is particularly effective in the demonstration and practice of pre-clinical skills. George Brown College has adapted this approach to interprofessional learning through IPAL, interprofessional peer-assisted learning.

In a typical IPAL workshop, students of two health professions collaborate in a structured peer-learning experience. The workshop focuses on both teaching and learning of a specific psychomotor skill or in exposing students to important concepts which will broaden their professional capabilities. Under the guidance of faculty mentors, students of one profession (the peer teachers) demonstrate to, teach and/or coach students of another profession (the peer learners). Organized in a non-threatening, peer-to-peer environment, IPAL provides the peer learners an opportunity to learn about and practice a new skill, while giving peer teachers the opportunity practice their own communication skills (e.g. presentation, demonstration, teaching and coaching), another critical component of professional practice. IPAL workshops also offer students the opportunity to engage with and learn about each others’ professions, and to discover those areas in which their professional scopes overlap.

  • Bedside Oral Care (Dental Hygiene & Nursing)2013 Project Overview: This is the 8th year of a collaborative partnership between nursing and dental hygiene programs. The focus of the partnership has been on practicing and developing competency in specific shared clinical skill areas. Annually, second year Dental Hygiene students have gone to the Nursing lab to guide the first year BScN nursing students as they learn basic oral care assessment and oral care procedures for “well” patients.
  • Nursing students assist dental hygiene students in providing care to a client who may develop chest pain or shortness of breath.

Health Interview with patient who is deaf: BScN nursing and AEIP Students

American Sign Language English Interpretive Program (AEIP) students and the First year Collaborative Nursing Degree students (BScN) have had an Interprofessional learning experience each academic term since Sept 2007, with the most recent being in October, 2013. This learning experience provides Nursing students with an opportunity to perform a health interview (including ‘vital signs’) of a deaf patient through an interpreter who is a 3rd year AEIP student. The AEIP students are provided with a healthcare learning environment in which to practice their interpretive skills. The October 2013 experience included a pre and post survey of all 66 students, obtaining, among other information, each student’s views of the value of interprofessional education. Almost 90% of the participants answered ‘yes’ to the question, “Now that you have participated in one (or more) interprofessional educational experiences, do you see the value of further opportunities as a student and/or health professional?”

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders: Activation Coordinators Gerontology & Hearing Instrument Specialists

Students from both Activation Coordinators & Gerontology and Hearing Instrument Specialists Programs work together to help people with dementia retain their hearing ability and delay or slow the progress of the disease. This interprofessional experience takes place in the Health eHome at the Waterfront Campus, most recently in Nov, 2013.

Oral health promotion with young children: Dental Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Early Childhood Education students (March 2013)

  1. Executive Summary

This Inter-professional Collaboration experience provided Dental Assisting, Medical Office Administration and Early Childhood Education Program students with an opportunity to learn from, with, and about each other’s roles as they began to develop the skills to competently communicate knowledge and optimal routine behaviour regarding oral health with young children.

  1. Brief description of the experience/curriculum:

Students from the Dental Assisting (DA), Medical Office Administration (MOA), and Early Childhood Education (ECE) program participated in this experience held at George Brown College Lab Child Care Centres

The DA students visited the child care centres twice. During the first visit, they observed and interacted with the children, and observed, ECE students and staff responding to the children. At the end of their visit, the DA and ECE students discussed/debriefed the experience. The DA students gathered information relative to planning an age appropriate oral health curriculum experience during their second visit. The second visit gave the ECE students an opportunity to observe and participate (if comfortable) with the DA students as they facilitated the oral health experience with the children. As with the first visit, the students debriefed and garnered feedback.

The Medical Office Administration students:

  • communicated with participants via email re: dates/times for the 2 visits, reminders regarding completing pre and post surveys and other information.
  • visited one of the centres to have a full understanding of the process, and the roles of ECEs and Dental Assistants.
  • developed a short pre- and post- survey for all participants in order to compare beliefs and knowledge about inter-professional collaboration before and after the experience
  • designed and distributed a Certificate of Participation for all students involved
  • planned and facilitated an end of project meeting to bring closure and share survey findings

The surveys indicated that the vast majority of the students:

  • increased their knowledge of the roles and responsibilities that the other two professions have, and specificically in health promotion
  • were comfortable about their role in interacting with students from the other programs
  • Were aware of the effectiveness that an inter-professional education/ collaboration experience can have on college education

Interprofessional experience with outside agency

Top Chef – Dysphagia…an IPE experience with Baycrest Hospital and George Brown College

Swallowing disorders and nutritional issues are common in the elderly who have a neurological injury, disorder or disease. Even normal aging changes can result in persons requiring texture modifications in order to eat/drink safely. Culinary training programs do not focus on this and graduating students don’t necessarily have an appreciation of why foods/liquids may need to be modified while still allowing people to enjoy their meal. Speech-Language Pathologists and Registered Dietitians often recommend modified food/liquid textures without understanding how those foods can be presented in an appetizing way. The balance between clinical needs and food preferences is extremely important in enhancing quality of life in the elderly.

This collaboration between Baycrest (University-affiliated teaching hospital) and George Brown College incorporated IPE techniques to enhance clinical knowledge, inform practice and foster scholarship to optimise best practice in geriatric care. Innovative and varied educational strategies were used to teach Culinary Management Nutrition students about swallowing and nutritional issues and to teach clinicians about food preparation/presentation to enhance quality of life.


  1. To educate Culinary Management Nutrition students about swallowing , swallowing disorders and nutritional issues to improve knowledge and attitudes about persons with swallowing disorders and the effect on food preparation (quantitative)
  2. To use varied IPE learning strategies to enhance learning of both the students and the clinicians (qualitative)
  3. To effect curriculum change

The project had 4 phases:

  1. Didactic/interactive learning about swallowing and nutritional disorders
  2. Observation of clinical swallowing assessments
  3. Small group case study and development of modified texture/nutrition meal plan
  4. “Top Chef Cook-off” competition by the groups

Both qualitative and quantitative evaluations were positive. In particular, knowledge of professional roles increased.

This initiative has already contributed to curriculum development at George Brown College and will expand to include other student groups in future IPE initiatives with Baycrest.