Interprofessional Education
Starting to think about IPE

Starting to think about Interprofessional Education (IPE)


Have you ever heard about interprofessional education?

What does it mean to you?


What would you like to learn about IPE?

References for this Activity
1. UK Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education, 2002. accessed April 10, 2007

The literature says:

The benefits of collaboration and Interprofessional education include:

  • patient centredness[2][1]

  • improved quality of care and better coordination between care settings[3][4][5]

  • access to care[2]

  • trust and respect [6][7]

The potential drawbacks include:

  • ability to work interprofessionally is dependent on the experience of the practitioner [3]

  • comfort of practitioner with subject matter/area of practice [3]

  • and current educational systems that are ill-designed to prepare professionals for interdisciplinary practice[2][7]


Much of the research on IPE has taken place in settings like palliative care, rehabilitation and geriatrics do you think the benefits and drawbacks will be the same for all areas of clinical practice?


What people working in health care teams say:

In this video clip from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute we see that interprofessional teams can have a clarity of purpose with the patient at the centre. Members of the team speak about their experiences and highlight improved patient outcomes, increased patient safety and reduced staff burnout as part of their experience of working in an interprofessional team.

Teamwork in Healthcare: Promoting Effective Teamwork in Healthcare in Canada


In this video health discipline students speak about their experiences of working in the well functioning team environment at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver, BC .  The students also experience the patient as the centre of the team and  talk about how working together creates understanding, trust and respect between disciplines.

Vancouver Coastal Health (c)2007



Both of these examples are from Rehabilitation Centres. Is there something about rehabilitation that predisposes it to interprofessional care?


Are there settings where it might be more of a challenge to introduce interprofessional learning and care? Why?


 Are you ready for IPE?



There is a rapidly growing body of literature about IPE, some of which looks at readiness for learning and practicing in this way. One particular scale [8] looks at factors in three areas:

  • team work and collaboration

  • professional identity

  • roles and responsibilities



Before engaging in IPE we must:

  • see value in it

  • want to have the experience of learning and working in groups

  • understand our own professional role and have a healthy professional identity

For true interprofessional learning and practice we must hold all disciplines in positive regard and see our own role as one among equals.



The RIPLS (Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale)[8] has been the subject of much debate[9][10] but it includes some of the central ideas behind IPE. The following statements show readiness for interprofessional learning, true or false?


1.Learning with other students will help me become a more effective member of a health care team.
True     False
2.Patients would ultimately benefit if health-care students work together to solve patient problems.
True     False
3.Shared learning with other health-care students will increase my ability to understand clinical problems.
True     False
4.Learning with health-care students before would improve relationships after qualification.
True     False
5.Communication skills should be learned with other health care students.
True     False
6.Shared learning will help me to think positively about other professionals.
True     False
7.For small group learning to work, students need to trust and respect each other.
True     False
8.Team-working skills are essential for all health care students to learn.
True     False
9.Shared learning will help me understand my limitations.
True     False
10.It is not necessary for undergraduate health-care students to learn together.
True     False
11.Clinical problem-solving skills can only be learned with students from my own department.
True     False
12.Shared learning with other health-care students will help me to communicate better with patients and other professionals.
True     False
13.Shared learning will help to clarify the nature of patient problems.
True     False
14.Shared learning before qualification will help me become a better team worker.
True     False
15.The function of nurses and therapists is mainly to provide support for doctors.
True     False




1. Butow P,Devine R, Boyer M, Pendlebury S, Jackson M, Tattersall MHN. Cancer consultation preparation package: Changing patients but not physicians is not enough. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2004;22:4401-4409.

2. Kristjanson L, Dudgeon D,Nelson F, Henteleff P, Balneaves L. Evaluation of an interdisciplinary training program in palliative care: Addressing the needs of rural and Northern communities. Journal of Palliative Care. 1997;13:5-12.

3. Norton SA,Talerico KA. Facilitating end-of-life decision-making: Strategies for communicating and assessing. Journal of Gerontological Nursing. 2000;26:6-13.

4. Morita T, Akechi T, Masayuki I, Kizawa Y, Kohara H, Mukaiyama T et al. Late referrals to specialized palliative care service in Japan. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2005;23:263-2644.

5. Curtis JR, Engelberg RA, Wenrich MD, Shannon SE, Treece PD, Rubenfeld GD. Missed opportunities during family conferences about end-of-life care in the Intensive Care Unit. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2005; 171:844-849.

6. Woods LW, Craig JB, Dereng N. Transitioning to a hospice program: Identifying potential barriers to a seamless transition. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 2006;8: 103-111.

7. Fineberg IC, Wenger NS, Forrow L. Interdisciplinary education: Evaluation of a palliative care training intervention for pre-professionals. Academic Medicine. 2004;79:769-776.

8. Parsell G, Bligh J. The development of a questionnaire to assess the readiness of health care students forinterprofessional learning (RIPLS). Medical Education. 1999;33:95-100.

9. McFadyen AK, Webster VS, MacLaren WM. The test-retest reliability of a revised version of the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale(RIPLS). Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2006;20:633-639.

10. McFadyen AK, Webster V, Strachan K, Figgins E, Brown H, McKechnie J. The Readiness for Interprofessional Learnign Scale: A possible more stable sub-scale model for the original version of RIPLS. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2005;19:595-603.

All references for this section