Inter-Professional Education for Collaborative Practice in Health Care

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Tesfamicael Ghebrehiwet


Today’s health care delivery is increasingly complex and the complex needs of patients demand that health professionals communicate and collaborate to deliver the best care. Governments around the world are looking for innovative solutions that will ensure the appropriate supply, mix and distribution of the health workforce. One of the most promising solutions can be found in inter-professional education (IPE) and collaboration. IPE occurs when students from different professions learn together at some point during their training in order to prepare them to work together in health teams. Unfortunately most health professional training institutions provide little or no opportunity for IPE. Effective inter-professional education (IPE) fosters respect among the health professions, eliminates negative stereotypes, and fosters a team approach in health care. At the same time quality of care is improved when health professionals learn together.  These considerations mean that the approach and content of medical, nursing and other curricula must adapt to adequately prepare health professionals to practice within the health team model. This will require the implementation of well-planned educational strategies; so that health professionals learn together in order to work together in coordinated manner to deliver person-centred and team-based health care. The paper highlights key issues in IPE and its benefits in the delivery of quality health care and improved patient safety through collaborative practice.

Article Details

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Author Biography

Tesfamicael Ghebrehiwet, International Council of Nurses (ICN)

Tesfamicael (Tesfa) Ghebrehiwet, PhD, RN, is Consultant, Nursing and Health Policy, International Council of Nurses (ICN). He joined ICN in 1994. At ICN he is responsible for a number of programme areas including primary health care, HIV/AIDS, research and evidence-based practice, nursing ethics, and mental health. He is also Director of the ICN/MSD Mobile Library Project that delivers books to nurses in developing countries.   From 2004-2007 Dr. Ghebrehiwet directed ICN TB/MDR-TB Project and conducted training in six countries. He is the ICN representative to the World Health Organisation. Dr. Ghebrehiwet started his professional experience in Eritrea and Ethiopia where he held various positions including a staff nurse, nursing supervisor and nurse educator where he led a national training programme for nurses and primary health care workers. Prior to joining ICN, Dr. Ghebrehiwet served as Senior Lecturer and Head, Community Health Nursing Programme, College of Health Sciences, Kingdom of Bahrain. In this capacity he provided leadership in establishing a post-basic community health nursing programme and led the Programme for several years. In addition he thought in the associate degree, post-basic and bachelor of nursing programmes of the College of Health Sciences. He is a native of Eritrea and holds a citizenship of Canada.  Dr. Ghebrehiwet received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Indiana University (USA); Master of Public Health (MPH), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (UK); and PhD in public health from the University of Southampton (UK). He is the recipient of scholarships and awards including a USAID scholarship to Indiana University and an Award from the Vice-Chancellors and Deans of the UK. He was awarded the top prize for academic excellence during his MPH studies. Dr. Ghebrehiwet has served on a number of WHO consultations including Situational Analysis of the Advanced Nursing Practice Role in Primary Health Care in Oman, Global Outbreak Alert and Response, Patient Safety and HIV/AIDS. He has contributed widely to international journals including the Lancet, International Nursing Review, the World Health Bulletin, Building Quality in Health Care and Nursing Ethics. Dr. Ghebrehiwet is featured in the 2009 Who’s Who in Medicine and Health Care.


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