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Stories from the Field: How to Do Teaming and IPE at a Distance

Last week, we launched a series called Teaming at a Distance to share practical ways to work as virtual teams and to teach teamwork and collaboration at a distance. The tips and stories come from things we’ve learned through our own work as a remote team, from education and practice members of the Arizona Nexus, and from our national interprofessional colleagues and networks.   

Teaming at a Distance features guest posts with stories from the field. If you would like to contribute, please email your thoughts and ideas on Teaming at a Distance to Check the CAIPER Blog or sign-up for email updates to see the latest articles.

Dr. Karen J. Saewert starts us off with a look at what makes interprofessional education and practice meaningful.

Make it meaningful...

By Karen J. Saewert - March 30, 2020

Meaningful IPE by Karen Saewert

What makes interprofessional education and practice meaningful across settings and disciplines? How is that meaningfulness defined? What is the definitive answer to these questions? Well, this isn’t a “one size fits all” thing. 

At one time or another each of us may want, if not need, inspiration to evolve the meaningfulness of our interprofessional teaching and practice. I certainly do. So where do I look for it?

While education, experience, trial and error, and inward reflection are “go to” strategies, I also unashamedly benefit — by looking to each and everyone one of you. Patients, families, students, health professions colleagues, and unnamed others...fill in the are my teachers. I learn again and again from you. That makes us a rather large, and unconventional team — learning about, with, and from each other. 

Unconventional teams are progressive. A present day refrain is “we are all in this together”.  This certainly holds true for making interprofessional education and practice meaningful for ourselves and others.

Five Stages For Effective Teaching and Meaningful Learning in the Classroom (2013), authored by Dr. Israel Galindo, inspired me to extrapolate his strategies for application to interprofessional education and practice.

Learn to be interprofessional (Learn it.)

  • Prompt learner insights as to why they need to learn to be interprofessional and the need that being interprofessional addresses.
  • Teach from the known (learner’s prior knowledge about interprofessional education and practice) to the unknown using pathways, such as metaphors and experience to bridge the gap.
  • Focus on interprofessional concepts, practices and principles rather than facts and information using interactive lecture, explanation, and problem-based scenarios.

Appreciate what it means to be interprofessional (Understand it.)

  • Be clear with learners about what you are teaching toward (e.g., self-awareness, application, analysis, etc.)
  • Use interactive discussion, question and answer, and learner self-assessment approaches.
  • Provide sources of information or knowledge.

Internalize being interprofessional (Manipulate it).

  • Provide learners with learning activities that tap creativity (e.g., illustrations, artistic interpretations, modeling, sense-making).

Practice being interprofessional (Retain it.)

  • Design multiple opportunities for learners over time to try out interprofessional behaviors and work toward mastery. 

Be interprofessional (Use it.)

  • Optimally, facilitate the application of interprofessional learning in the context in which it will be used (i.e., real world application).

So, share what you know with others. Ask others to share what they know.

Be a source of inspiration. You may not know it (yet), but you likely already are.

About the Author

Karen J. SaewertKaren J. Saewert, PhD, RN, CPHQ, CNE, ANEF, is Senior Director for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice and Clinical Professor at ASU Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She is Edson College’s liaison to the Office of Interprofessional Continuing Health Education, ASU Office of the University Provost. Dr. Saewert collaboratively leads interprofessional curriculum design, assessment of learning, and program evaluation initiatives to advance nursing and health professions education and improve healthcare quality and outcomes in emerging team-based practice models.

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