Socialization in health education: encouraging an integrated interprofessional socialization process

J Allied Health. Spring 2009;38(1):18-23.

Abstract

There is limited research on how health professionals are currently socialized to work interprofessionally. As part of a large-scale initiative funded by Health Canada, this report adds to our understanding of socialization and how it can prepare the health care student for an interprofessional health care environment. Data were collected through semistructured individual and group interviews with 83 respondents (i.e., faculty, students, health care and academic administrators, and health care providers) at seven clinical sites and five academic institutions throughout Alberta. Respondents indicated that socialization prepares health care students for interprofessional environments by "building a professional identity" and through what we are labeling "interprofessional familiarization" (i.e., where the goal is to introduce students to the roles and function of other professionals outside their own discipline). While there is interprofessional familiarization, it is neither consistently espoused as important nor systematically embedded in curriculum and clinical placements. Interprofessional competency building is lacking during this preparatory phase, leaving students ill prepared to work in interprofessional health care environments. We argue there is a need for greater interprofessional socialization in education. By creating a deliberate, planned, and integrated interprofessional socialization process that is consistent across the health professions, barriers to interprofessional practice could be mitigated.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Socialization*