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Written by: Bob Habasevich, PT on Thursday, August 23, 2012 Posted in: Inpatient Rehab

Recently on a professional list serve, a nursing leader asked if the term u201cInterprofessionalu201d is  used in rehabilitation settings.  I was taken by the first response posted to the question; the reference could mean anything and lacked specificity, suggesting that it should not be taken too seriously.  Past descriptors of team work have faded into obscurity with little impact on clinical practice.

Many references to Interprofessional teams exist in the quality and performance improvement literature. I became curious about its use in Nursing. A quick Google search provided the link to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website and the work being done in response to the IOM report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report charges nursing education to prepare nurses for more involvement in healthcare and its reform by u201cadvancing interprofessional collaboration to ensure coordinated and improved patient care.u201d Interprofessional implies the collaboration between professionals of various disciplines to answer the need of the patients using an integrated approach of shared decision-making.

Patient care is a complex activity that demands that health and social care professionals work together in an effective manner. The evidence suggests, however, that these professionals do not collaborate well together. Traditionally, nurses, physicians and therapists have received little or no formal training in team dynamics or human factor engineering.   Interprofessional education (IPE) offers a possible way to improve collaboration and patient care. Working interprofessionally is an essential part of successful health and social care provision in the twenty-first century; you can expect to be hearing the term more frequently and most likely associated with the behavior changes needed among care delivery teams.  Effectiveness will require continuous feedback and remediation to attain sustained improvement and it is here where the professional nurse stands to make a significant contribution.

Often good ideas need to be renamed to jump start their intentions to actions, Taximetrics, new name old concept.