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Interprofessional Education


Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences is committed to preparing the next generation of leaders in health care. A significant part of this preparation is providing a foundation of knowledge and skills which allows our graduates to work effectively with other disciplines during interprofessional collaborative practice and as a member of focused teams during interprofessional team-based care.

Students majoring in kinesiology, nursing, nurse anesthesia, social work, and speech-language pathology have opportunities to learn with, about, and from students and faculty in related health care disciplines as part of their undergraduate or graduate educational experience.

These experiences occur during multi-institutional case-based activities as well as smaller, interdepartmental experiences which bring students and faculty together to learn how other health care professions think and act when caring for similar populations.

The World Health Organization (WHO 2010 Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice) has defined interprofessional education as “when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health.”

Interprofessional practice (IPP) occurs “when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, care givers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.”

The purpose of interprofessional education is to prepare health professions students for interprofessional practice by teaching collaborative practice competencies within the context of interprofessional teams. Research shows that effective health care teams are a factor in improved patient safety and quality of patient-centered care. Effective teamwork can help accomplish the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) Triple Aim – improving patient experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reduction of per capita cost of health care.

Health care professions have historically trained in “silos” with little emphasis on team dynamics. Collaborative practice competencies – knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors – must be integrated into health professions curriculum through both didactic and experiential learning.

Collaborative practice competencies fit well within several common heath care domains: professionalism, communication, and systems-based practice. The Interprofessional Education Collaborative’s four IPE Competency Domains offer a framework to structure the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors necessary for effective collaboration across health care professions. The competencies can be delivered to students in a variety of learning contexts and should include opportunities for students from two or more professions to come together to learn about, from, and with each other and to practice collaboration skills.

To be purely interprofessional education, the focus must be on collaborative practice competency development and culminate into opportunities to apply or practice with students from other professions.


Weeks, Susan Mace and Farmer, David (2017) “Institutional Collaboration to Accelerate Interprofessional Education,” International Journal of Health Sciences Education, 4(1).

Lund, E., Brimo, D., Rhea, D. & Rivchun, A. (In press). The effect of multiple recesses on listening effort: A preliminary study. Journal of Educational, Pediatric, and (Re)Habilitative Audiology.


IPP & IPE Resources

Learn more about interprofessional education, research, and practice using the following resources:

Interprofessional Education Collaborative

National Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association – Interprofessional Education/Interprofessional Practice

American Association of Colleges of Nursing – Interprofessional Education

World Health Organization – Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Measuring the Impact of Interprofessional Education (IPE) on Collaborative Practice and Patient Outcomes

American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education – Introduction to Interprofessional Education article

University of North Texas Health Sciences Center – Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPE/IPP)