Relationships of power: implications for interprofessional education

J Interprof Care. 2011 Mar;25(2):98-104. doi: 10.3109/13561820.2010.505350. Epub 2010 Sep 16.


Interprofessional education (IPE) is considered a key mechanism in enhancing communication and practice among health care providers, optimizing participation in clinical decision making and improving the delivery of care. An important, though under-explored, factor connected to this form of education is the unequal power relations that exist between the health and the social care professions. Drawing on data from the evaluation of a large multi-site IPE initiative, we use Witz's model of professional closure (1992) to explore the perspectives and the experiences of participants and the power relations between them. A subset of interviews with a range of different professionals (n = 25) were inductively analyzed to generate emerging themes related to perceptions of professional closure and power. Findings from this work highlight how professionals' views of interprofessional interactions, behaviours and attitudes tend to either reinforce or attempt to restructure traditional power relationships within the context of an IPE initiative.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Professional / methods*
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Professional Competence
  • Social Work / education*