Interprofessional Education

Interprofessional Education - IPE



Health Canada is supporting initiatives to improve health and health care delivery through collaborative patient-centered practice. To this end they recognize the need to train health professionals to learn together and to work together. [1]  Academics and educators are interested in interprofessional education and there is a growing body of knowledge about the effects and best-practices for IPE. [2][3][4][5][6]

Interprofessional education is about learning together to work together, it is about working in teams and about learning. This module is designed to help you to be aware of  your own learning style and needs, and to explore your own understanding and experience of working in groups and teams.[7] You will also learn about the different members of the health care team and their various roles.  We will then explore how well functioning teams improve health care delivery.

Interprofessional education has been describes as learning with, from and about other professions.


Before we can learn with others, we must know ourselves.

  • What is your learning style?

  • What is your experience of team work?

  •  Review the effect of good communication, understanding of self and others and good group skills on health care delivery and the health care team



In order to learn from each other, we need to understand how teams work and how to work well together.

  • How do team function?

  • What are the different roles within teams?

  • What are some features of well functioning teams?

  • What are barriers to team work?

  • Strategies for communication



Health care team - learning about the team and roles on the team

  • Who are the members of  health care teams, what stereotypes, assumptions and biases do you have about other professions and what ideas do others have about your profession?

  • Roles and scopes of practice of team members

  • Overlap within team and working together


Taking it forward –

At the end of this module you will be able to articulate your own role within team and review ideas for working well with others, make a plan to be a more effective interprofessionally!




After completing this module you will be able to:

  • define interprofessional education

  • describe your own learning style, personality profile and preferred role in a team


  • define the various roles within a team and identify the key features of a well functioning team


  • describe and compare specific members of the health care team, including patient/consumer, and the respective roles, concerns, needs and scopes of practice

  • identify boundaries within care provision and the effects on patient care

  • identify barriers to making and working in a team

  • discuss the benefits and difficulties in providing health care in a team

  • describe the effect on patient care of having a well functioning team compared to a poorly functioning team



1. Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Patient-Centred Practice. Accessed June 21, 2007

2. Borduas F, Frank B, Hall P, Handfield-Jones R, Hardwick D, Ho K, et al. Facilitating the integration of interprofessional education into quality health care: Strategic roles of academic institutions. Health Canada Submission. 2006.

3. Gilbert JHV. Interprofessional learning and higher education structural barriers. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2005;S1:87-106.

4. Greiner AC, Kneble E, editors. Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality. Washington DC:The National Academies Press;2001.

5. Hall P. Interprofessional teamwork: Professional cultures as barriers. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2005;S1:188-196.

6. Hammick M, Freeth D, Koppel I, Reeves S & Barr H. (2007) A Best Evidence Systematic Review of Interprofessional Education.Medical teacher (in press) available online: through Best Evidence Medical Education - BEME Collaboration accessed January 16, 2008

7. The distinction between a group and a team may not be clear to many and for the sake of this module we consider a group to be a collection of individuals who may not yet have formed the trust, communication, sense of connection and common purpose, and ways of working together that we are attributing to a team. This is a distinction that has been slightly exaggerated to make it clear; many definitions of groups acknowledge the bonds that bring a group together in the first place. At the beginning of an IPE experience the individuals gathered will be a group and with attention, effort and assistance will become a team.

All references for this section