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About Interprofessional Education

Interprofessional education is a collaborative approach to develop healthcare students as future interprofessional team members, a recommendation by the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 1972). The World Health Organization describes interprofessional education as: "When students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes." (WHO, 2010)

At USI, students from the health professions and related disciplines are engaged in interactive learning with each other. Being able to work effectively as members of clinical teams during their education is a fundamental part of learning. Each student learns to value the unique perspective and knowledge the other professions bring to the care of the patient.

Healthcare teams that practice collaboratively are the key to safe, high quality, accessible, affordable, patient-centered care that is desired by everyone.

Why Interprofessional Education Now

Learning together interprofessionally leads students to practice collaboratively as they enter the workforce. Although effective interprofessional education may occur in different ways, it often involves the following elements:

    • Development of health professionals who work collaboratively to improve the delivery of health care and improve outcomes for patients, families, and communities
    • Collaborative use of shared expertise to deliver the best patient care
    • Understanding the roles, responsibilities and scope of practice of other health professions
    • Collaborative decision-making, problem solving, and team-based communication
    • Development of attitudes and communication skills that empower patients to participate in planning their care
    • Integration of evidence-based practice, informatics, care coordination, and patient self-management assistance

USI is working hard to ensure that students are well-prepared to fully participate in the evolving health environment with effective interprofessional knowledge and skills.

The development of interprofessional education in the United States mirrors the movement that is developing internationally. Health professions engaged in interprofessional education at USI include nursing, occupational therapy, occupational therapy assistant, respiratory therapy, dental hygiene, dental assisting, diagnostic medical sonography, food and nutrition, radiologic technology, and health services.

"An essential component of patient-centered primary care practice is interprofessional teamwork. High-functioning teams require collaboration between physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, clinical psychologists, case managers, medical assistants and clinical administrators ..."
Department of Veterans Affairs
August 26, 2010