Inter-professional Education and Collaborative Practice in Nursing

Inter-professional Education and CollaborativePractice in Nursing

Inter-professional Education and CollaborativePractice in Nursing

The current trend of inter-professionalcollaborative practice has taken a toll on many health careprofessionals. Nurses are not spared either. Inter-professionalCollaborative care is a process in which various healthcareprofessional groups work together to positively impact healthcaredelivery (Zwarenstein et al, 2009). Studies have shown that if thetrend is not managed well, it may affect the quality of servicedelivered by the nursing group and other professionals in the team(Zwarenstein et al, 2009). In a study by Zwarenstein et al (2009)regarding the challenges faced by nurses in collaborative practiceinclude, poor communication, lack of coordination, problematic powerdynamics, and lack of understanding of the roles of each group in theteam.

Whenworking in a team of different professionals, the major problems thatmost systems encounter is the lack of a clear-cut list of roles thateach group of professionals should handle (Rosenstein, 2002). Nomatter how effective a system is, there is always a role that willnot be assigned to any group of professionals maybe because it wasunprecedented or forgotten all together. Such mishaps affect thecoordination of activities among nurses and other professionalsinvolved (Zwarenstein et al, 2009). Consequently, the quality ofservices provided by the nurses deteriorates to levels that are waybelow what they could deliver had they not worked on aninter-professional team.

Makingthe adjustment to work with other professionals may also be achallenge to nurses. Other professionals in the collaborative carehave their own different ways of doing things. Their lingo, levels ofinteraction with patients, and terms of engagement are oftendifferent from those of nurses.

The most common problem that occurs during thisadjustment is problematic power dynamics. There is often a powervacuum when it comes to collaborative practice. Since there is noassigned alpha team in the collaborative care, every team seeks todominate the rest and this is just human nature. The problematicpower dynamics tend to reduce the levels of cooperation between thevarious groups involved and consequently impairs the efficiency ofthe work of the nurses.

Nurses can avoid the confusion ofresponsibilities between groups in collaborative care by making surethey understand what is expected of them beforehand (Hudson, 2009).Adapting to the system as they continue working in collaborativepractice will only make the matter worse. It is also important fornurses to understand the role that each team of professionals shouldplay in the collaborative practice. This way, it will be easy tosingle out the root cause of the problem whenever the systemencounters challenges such as communication breakdown, lack ofcoordination and inefficiency.

Nurses can seek inter-professional knowledgeprior to taking part in collaborative care in order to understand howeach group of professionals operates. Understanding the level ofexpertise, skills, and the job description of each group ofprofessionals in collaborative practice, will go a long way incoordinating the activities of the various groups. Interaction withthe other professionals in order to get a glimpse of how theyperceive healthcare issues will also help to cement good workingrelations in the collaborative care. In addition, the nurses shouldavoid segregating themselves from the rest of the team in order tomaintain the team spirit that is so desired in this type ofarrangement.


Hudson, B. (2009). Inter-professionality inhealth and social care: the Achilles` heel of partnership?. Journalof inter-professional care, 16(1) 7-17

Rosenstein, A. H. (2002). Nurse-physicianrelationships: Impact on nurse satisfaction and retention. AJNThe American Journal of Nursing,102(6),26-34.

Warenstein M, Goldman J, Reeves S. (2009).Inter-professional collaboration: effects of practice-basedinterventions on professional practice and healthcare outcomes.Cochrane Database of SystematicReviews 2009,(3) 9 (3)