Healthcare workers’ understanding of interprofessional education and collaborative practice in regional health settings: A survey study
Keywords:Interprofessional education, collaborative practice, continuing professional development
Introduction: Interprofessional education and collaborative practice can enhance outcomes for patients and families. Facilitating collaborative practice at the point of care requires skilled healthcare workers who understand relevant terminology and concepts. However, gaps persist in the understanding and facilitation of interprofessional education and collaborative practice in some health settings. This survey study investigated healthcare workers’ perceived knowledge and understanding of interprofessional education and collaborative practice.
Methods: A bespoke online survey was administered to healthcare workers from two regional health services in Queensland, Australia. Data were subject to descriptive and inferential analyses.
Results: Data were available from 235 healthcare workers. Multiple regression analysis revealed that claiming to understand the difference between different models of service delivery, the ability to explain interprofessional education to a colleague and being an allied health practitioner were statistically significant predictors of a high knowledge of interprofessional practice score. Very few respondents were trained in this area (6%, n = 14), and those trained reported higher confidence in facilitating interprofessional education and collaborative practice at the point of care.
Conclusion: This study has highlighted the gaps in healthcare workers’ perceived knowledge and understanding of interprofessional education and collaborative practice. Healthcare workers need targeted professional development opportunities to develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for practising in interprofessional teams. They also need opportunities to facilitate it with students and others. Improving interprofessional and collaborative practice within teams will ultimately improve healthcare outcomes of patients serviced by healthcare workers.
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