Competencies for Interprofessional Collaboration

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Background and Purpose.

Interprofessional collaboration in health care is now considered a high priority, as concerns about patient safety, health and human resources shortages, and effective and efficient care have reached epic proportions. Although there are many models for interprofessional education for collaborative, patient-centered care, there is little in the literature to describe competencies for an interprofessional collaborative practitioner. This article will describe an emerging Canadian competency framework for interprofessional collaboration that (1) considers previous descriptions of collaborative practice and (2) uses existing literature to support a model for describing competencies for collaborative practice.

Model Description and Evaluation.

In this emerging competency framework, 6 competency domains are described using a competency statement and a set of associated descriptors. The collaborative leadership, dealing with interprofessional conflict, team functioning, and role clarification domains intersect with all of the others, yet are distinct and require focused descriptions. While patient-centered care and communication also are domains unto themselves, these competencies are integral elements of the other domains and are integrated throughout the framework. In the background supporting all of the domains are 3 key themes: context of practice, level of complexity, and quality improvement. The emerging framework was reviewed by a wide group of stakeholders, including an external review. Future use of the framework will assist in further shaping it to meet the needs of educators, researchers, practitioners, regulators, and accreditors.

Discussion and Conclusion.

The competency framework has been designed as a practical tool for a number of stakeholder groups. In particular, physical therapy educators can use it as a basis for interprofessional education programs and activities that prepare collaborative practitioners for the future. The framework is flexible and can be used in simple or complex situations, in a variety of practice settings, as a guide for learning outcomes and evaluation or assessment of performance, and as a tool for developing entry-level curricula and continuing professional development. The strength of the framework will emerge as it evolves over time.

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