With more people being diagnosed with chronic and complex health problems in the US due to fast-paced lifestyles and poor lifestyle habits, healthcare facilities are finding it challenging to coordinate care. Coordinated care requires health and non-health professionals to pool their knowledge and skills to provide comprehensive care. However, this has not always been possible as many healthcare professionals practice in silos, which can have a profound effect on the quality of care and treatment outcomes.
In 2011, the Interprofessional Education Collaborative introduced the core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice to promote patient-centric healthcare. The aim was to improve accessibility, safety, quality, and efficiency. When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2014, the core competencies were updated in 2016 to improve the patient care experience, reduce the cost of healthcare, and improve population health. As a result, these core competencies have been adopted not just by healthcare professionals but also by nursing and medicine schools.
Collaboration is not a new concept. In competitive marketplaces, many businesses realize the importance of collaboration and how working and partnering with other businesses can lead to mutual success. The same rules are now being applied to healthcare, where success is measured in terms of reduced costs and better patient care and treatment outcomes.
The field of nursing has also embraced collaborative care. Over the years, the nursing field has grown and evolved as health issues and conditions have become more complex. However, nursing education has not kept pace with many changes, although some nursing schools are emphasizing interprofessional collaboration in their curriculum. These schools understand the importance of such collaborations and want to prepare nurses for real-world healthcare settings.
If you are already a registered nurse and want to advance in your career or role, you should take measures to learn more about interprofessional collaboration. You can enroll in the University of Indianapolis’ MSN-AGNP online program, for example, which will give you a clear understanding of the importance of interprofessional collaboration and how it helps to improve the quality of care and life for adults in different healthcare settings.
What is interprofessional collaboration?
Interprofessional collaboration is where different healthcare professionals work together to provide patient-centered care. That means doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals work together to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.
This collaboration requires communication, respect, and a shared commitment among the different healthcare professionals to ensure the patient’s well-being.
Why interprofessional collaboration matters in nursing education?
Perhaps the most significant reason for including this subject in education is that it prepares nurses to work effectively in a team environment. In the real world, nurses rarely work alone. Instead, they work with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients. By learning how to work effectively with other healthcare professionals during their education, nurses are better prepared for the teamwork required in their careers.
Collaboration also helps nursing students develop a broader understanding of the healthcare system. By working with other healthcare professionals, nursing students learn about the roles and responsibilities of other healthcare professionals and where each professional fits to provide holistic care to patients. This ensures that every patient receives high-quality care.
Promoting interprofessional collaboration in nursing education
Interprofessional collaboration in nursing education requires a multi-faceted approach. Here are a few strategies that nursing educators can use to promote collaboration:
Group projects and case studies: Assigning group projects and case studies that require students to work together can be an effective way to promote collaboration. These projects and case studies can be designed to simulate real-world scenarios that nurses may encounter at any stage of their careers.
Interprofessional simulations: Many nursing experts believe that simulations are a great way to give students hands-on experience in working with other healthcare professionals. They can be designed to replicate real-world scenarios and allow students to practice collaboration in a safe and controlled environment.
Interprofessional education programs: Interprofessional education programs bring together students from different healthcare professions to learn about each other’s roles and responsibilities. These programs can help students develop a deeper understanding of the healthcare system and the importance of collaboration.
Communication training: Effective communication is essential for interprofessional collaboration. Educators can provide training on communication skills such as active listening, giving and receiving feedback, and conflict resolution.
Being a role model: Educators need to set an example for student nurses. They can model collaboration by working together in their teaching and research activities. This can help students see the value of collaboration and develop positive attitudes toward working with other healthcare professionals.
Challenges in promoting interprofessional collaboration in nursing education
While there are many benefits to interprofessional collaboration in nursing education, there are also challenges to promoting collaboration.
One of the biggest challenges is resistance to change. Most healthcare professionals are used to working in silos, and changing this mindset can be difficult. Educators must work to overcome this resistance by demonstrating the benefits of collaboration and providing opportunities for healthcare professionals to work together.
Educators may struggle to find the time and resources to develop and implement interprofessional education programs. This is especially true in academic institutions where funding may be limited. To overcome this challenge, educators can partner with healthcare organizations and use their resources to develop interprofessional education programs.
Even designing a curriculum to promote interprofessional collaboration can be a challenge. If nursing schools do not update their curricula, they will teach students the traditional model of nursing and students will learn to work in silos. To promote interprofessional collaboration, educators may need to redesign the curriculum to include collaborative learning opportunities.
There is no doubt that interprofessional collaboration is essential in nursing education. It prepares student nurses to work effectively in a team, helps them develop a broader understanding of the healthcare system, and can lead to better patient outcomes.
When nurses and other healthcare professionals realize the importance of working together, it will ensure the best possible care for patients. Collaborative care ensures that all healthcare professionals, including nurses, are part of the same team with a common goal — ensuring superior patient-centered care for better outcomes.