Ready to collaborate?: medical learner experiences in interprofessional collaborative practice settings

BMC Med Educ. 2020 Mar 23;20(1):85. doi: 10.1186/s12909-020-1992-1.


Background: Interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) offers great potential to improve healthcare. Increases in IPCP will require educating learners in authentic IPCP settings and will generate opportunities and challenges.

Methods: In January 2015, we implemented an IPCP model called Collaborative Care (CC) for hospitalized adult medical patients. We explored learner perspectives regarding their educational experiences. We deductively coded transcripts from semi-structured interviews with medical learners. Data related to educational experiences were thematically analyzed.

Results: Twenty-four of 28 (85.7%) medical learners rotating on CC from January to May 2015 completed interviews. Subsequent inductive analysis of these interviews identified four themes: Loss of Educational Opportunities during Rounds, Feelings of Uncertainty during New Situations, Strategies for Adaptation, and Improved Communication with Patients and the Team.

Conclusions: Increased implementation of IPCP will lead to a greater number of learners being exposed to authentic IPCP settings and will generate opportunities and challenges. Though learners perceived improved communication skills in an IPCP model, they also described loss of profession-specific learning opportunities and feelings of uncertainty. These findings corroborate the need for novel teaching methods aligned with IPCP clinical learning environments and educational assessment strategies that reflect attainment of both profession-specific and interprofessional competencies.

Keywords: Graduate medical education; Interprofessional collaboration; Interprofessional education; Undergraduate medical education.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Qualitative Research