By Robin Dewald PhD, RN, CNE
The National Academies of Practice proclaim the month of April as “National Interprofessional Health Care Month.” According to the National League for Nursing (2015), “The World Health Organization Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice [WHO, 2010] identified interprofessional education as the way health care professionals learn with, from, and about one another to improve collaboration and the quality of care for individuals, families, and communities” (p. 4). They continued, “WHO further defined collaborative interprofessional practice, stating that it occurs when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, care-givers, and communities to address the local health care need to deliver the highest quality care” (p.4). The collective work from all health care providers leads to better health outcomes for all.
Interprofessional health care teams are necessary to provide the quality of care that everyone deserves. The complexity of quality health care, including health promotion and illness prevention, becomes more achievable with the support and varied knowledge and skills of members of the interprofessional team. Health care clinicians collaborating in an interprofessional team enhances not only coordination, but safe, effective, and high quality health care.
Nurses have the responsibility to work with and learn from other health care providers and personnel. Nurses are in a position to reach out to all involved in care, and are responsible for providing resources to promote the health and wellbeing of patients, families, communities, and populations. It is vital that nurses take the role of initiating and maintaining interprofessional communication and collaboration to effectively promote learning and health.
During the month of April, focus your practice on promoting interprofessional communication and collaboration. The goal is that your initiation of interprofessional practice will continue throughout your profession, thus enhancing quality of care for all. Happy National Interprofessional Health Care Month!
National League for Nursing. (2015). Interprofessional collaboration in education and practice. A living document from the National League for Nursing. Retrieved from http://www.nln.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/ipe-ipp-vision.pdf?sfvrsn=14