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According to Malin and Morrow (2007, p.448), Interprofessional Collaboration occurs when there is an exchange of professional ideas, between two or more professionals in a bid towards the improvement of the delivery of quality health care. Interprofessional education thus entails the education on how interprofessional collaboration can effectively take place. Interprofessional learning therefore helps to bolster teamwork as well as collaborative quality care for the benefit of the end user (Â Frost & Robinson, p.2007, p.191). I will discuss core learning experiences that I was able to garner through the seminars and group work. I will further narrate how this intertwines with scholarly work on IP and most importantly, how I can best put this into valuable practice.
The discussions by Professor Mier's (2010) presentation gave lots of insights since it enabled team members to discuss their varied professions. Professor Mier's presentation was mainly on IP education which mainly discussed how members of different groups can be able to succinctly understand each other in terms of their varied behavior and language affiliations. This is because; these are the two most imperative elements that are key to effective communication. It was not hard to establish a formidable tie as a group. We hastily began to communicate and share our professional ideas and experiences. There was increased collaboration as every team member contributed towards the discussions. It was indeed interesting to hear different views from the team members. I learnt a lot about diversity on the subject.
Subsequently, our limited experience in the field or workplace made most of the team members to merely speculate the kind of behavior that they would exhibit. We merely agreed that these behaviors exist in reality in the actual workplace. What I noticed was a general assumption by UWE was that medical students were generally different from the rest in terms of their professional behavior and background. All the team members concurred with this fact especially when the team members from the medical profession arrived late. There were several ideologies that the students discussed in low tones relating to the behavior of these students. However, this was only qualified by the fact that the medical profession students liked discussing their peers' conduct and professional ethics. Here, I learnt that medical students had issues with each other's conduct which frequently extended to the rest of the other students. They were constantly evaluating each other's work.
My group members concurred that the medical students often exhibited this trend. The rest of the team members agreed that the time limit of working in groups could not be construed to mean that medical students were often too pervasive. The setting of the group work was more controlled, thus limiting the results of the findings (Baldwin, 2007, p.102). It was agreed within my group that the real picture could be depicted in the work place though with limited variations. This was the case with the attitude of the medical students towards other medical students as well as the other students in general. The multi-disciplinary team meeting gave me insights and adequate experience in relation to the kind of communication among different professional team members (Golanowski, et al, 2007, p.352). Such enabled me to learn a lot regarding the kind of elucidation that should be developed from such impasse.
Our first task was mainly to establish all the health and social issues that the service user needs to acknowledge and have sufficient knowledge in. according to me, this was not holistic since it approached the issue from an individualistic point of view (Thompson, 2007, p.19). The needs of the individual team members were hence construed to mean what happens in the actual work place. All in all, we concluded that health and social care professionals must develop a rapport so that they may work together towards the provision of quality care to their patients. I also learnt that although this might be difficult owing to the dynamic changes in the health and social care facet due to the dwindling resources (Baxter & Brumfitt, 2008, p.129). The last 10 years has seen many changes in the health and social care professional field. However, this should not affect the quality of delivering quality health care to patients. The onus of providing this kind of quality care to patients lies with every member of the professional team, both individually and collectively.
I also learnt that health and social professional teams should learn to downplay their differences for the common good of their patients. I also learnt that the power and authority held by doctors in the past affected the IP collaboration. The other team members felt beaten at it. However, this has changed owing to the modern reorganization of the healthcare delivery. I learnt that other team members have now been given a chance to take lead roles in the delivery of quality health and social care (Junger et al., 2007, p.351). This kind of delegation was necessary due to the busy schedule of the doctors. This had to be communicated effectively within the Interprofessional teams. Nurses have been empowered and can now play a vital role which was traditionally reserved for lead doctors in the health care centers (Fear & Renzie-Brett, 2007, p.111). IP working has therefore made nurses more powerful and authoritative thus providing them with ardent experience to further their careers.
Our group identified job satisfaction as the first requirement that had to be fulfilled. Every IP team member had to feel appreciated and necessary within the IP setting in the health and social care unit. We also discussed how the economic status, effective communication and team spirit and encouragement can foster such kind of change. Consequently, in order to integrate a feasible working team, financial resource must be at the disposal of the health care institution. This will bolster a stable workforce which would work within their effective teams to ensure that they promote the wellbeing of their health care organization (Glasby & Dickinson, 2008, p.32).
As a future midwife, I acknowledge the fact that working together as a team is integral to the success of my career. There are many times when I will have to consult various health and social care practitioners to effectively treat or deal with complications at birth. Likewise, such professional team members may require my help in dealing with social, physical and mental health problems (Foucault, 1998, p.17). I also appreciate the fact that effective communication within the IP teams is key since no professional staff within the health and social care can work in isolation. Professional health and social team members should attend the same training session so as to improve their IP team collaboration.
My internship at the neonatal intensive care unit enabled me to gain useful insight and experience. This enabled me to contribute immensely at the conference and to also share my experience with other professional students. I also learnt important aspects of IP communication and working that are integral to the success of IP collaboration. These include, not using jargons, listening whenever other team members are talking, questioning assumptions sensibly, promoting the rights and dignity of IP team members (Dwyer, 2007, p.51).
I was also able to learn that certain general terms used by patients to refer to their illness may indeed cause great confusion among professional health and social care practitioners. These are referred to as stereotypes (Larkin & Callaghan, 2005, p.341). In such a situation, the health and social professional practitioner should consult the other members of his or her IP group or team so as to come up with the proper interpretation thus limit errors in the treatment of the patient's condition (Cooper & Spencer-Dawe, 2006, p.614).
The group discussion on IP education enabled me to visualize the reality between theory and practice. The patient-centred perspective was clearly illuminated by the patient's voice presentation. The exclusion of IP working has been seen in collaborative treatment. Decisions made by individual inexperienced doctors have been tragic. The case of Victoria Climbie and Baby Peter can best illuminate this when Baby Tiffany passed on due to negligence. Findings from this tragic situation enabled doctors and nurses to establish a framework that saw the prevention of such situations. It was agreed that IP teams would not be able to prevent the occurrence of every tragic incidence. Some would indeed be inevitable.
DISCUSS HOW YOU WOULD TAKE WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNT ABOUT IP WORKING INTO PRACTICE
There are several issues that were illuminated in the Bristol conference on Interprofessional education which would be imperative in my current and future practice. First and foremost, I learnt how to be an effective communicator (Foreman, 2008, p.210). As such, I learnt to be an effective listener, learn to question assumptions and respect other team members within the IP group. As a future midwife, I will be able to acknowledge the role of teamwork in the delivery of quality health and social care to my patients. In this section, I will discuss how the lessons that I have learnt will bolster my future career of midwifery and also how I will be able to develop into an effective IP team member.
My experience during my internship enabled me to meet a pregnant woman and her spouse who did not have an idea of how to take care of their first born child. The midwife at hand had not idea of how to help this couple. She did not understand her genesis and thought the issue would be sorted out by a one-off meeting with the couple. She actually thought that she had all the solutions that the couple required. What I learnt later was that the midwife would have addressed this issue best by holding a multi-disciplinary meeting with the rest of the qualified staff who have the prowess in certain key areas (Leeson, 2007, p.492). This would have sparked an exchange of professional ideas thus enabling the troubled couple to overcome their knowledge deficit.
The Interprofessional education would also enable me to involve all the necessary stakeholders in cases of emergency so as to limit conflicts and ensure the delivery of quality health and social care (Huby et al., 2007, p.58). For instance, in case I will be faced with an emergency delivery with complications as a midwife in future, I will quickly consult the woman's relations, other doctors and nurses before making a major decision to maybe recommend a Caesarian Section on the woman.
In addition, I would advocate for joint multi-disciplinary training so as to ensure increased harmony among the IP group members at the work place. Moreover, I would also ensure that there is a clearly distinct role defined for each IP team member so that each member contributes to the situation at hand. The role of effective communication would be key to the success of my career as a midwife (Lloyd, 2007, p.489). This is because; the service user and the nurses as well as the doctors would require knowing the progress of the patient as she is being treated. After I deliver a child, the mother will move to the maternity ward. From there, the doctors and nurses will require her historical medical records to aid in the provision of quality health care to her. It is for this reason that effective communication will be an integral part of my practice.
In order to be an effective midwife, I will have to identify those situations that are outside the norms and escalate such situations and conditions to the relevant medical practitioners (Hoffman et al., 2008, p.656). These are the qualities that I have learnt that will make me a successful community midwife. Therefore, interprofessional collaboration in such a situation will not only benefit the baby, but also the mother since safety will be assured to both. Many midwives have been accused of lack of multi-disciplinary coalition or collaboration hence leading to an increase in infant mortality (Clark, Cott & Drinka, 2007, p.601). Midwives should thus be trained together with the other medical health practitioners so as to increase the collaboration between the two or more subsets.
In case, I am faced with a situation where nobody knows who is to take the lead role in the delivery of a child, I would rise up to the occasion and ensure leadership through effective communication and interprofessional teamwork. I would also put into practice the need to escalate complex issues through effective communication. I have hence learnt that service users should be treated as individuals and respect their dignity (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008).
On the other hand, I would also learn to resolve ethical issues within my IP team. Certain ethical issues are bound to affect the IP collaboration within my working teams. I would therefore respect other IP team member's ethical standing and approach any indifference with a voice of reason in a bid to drive sense into the team member's understanding (Mackenzie et al., 2007, p.354). Indeed, most of the team members agreed to the fact that discrimination was indeed a shared concern.
While at the delivery suite, I watched as the midwife called for the obstetrician on duty to assist as soon as she spotted anomalies in the delivery of the child. This helped to salvage a situation which would be tragic to both the mother and child. The impatience exhibited by the obstetrician, when I sort to find out what the matter was, was met with impatience. This incident taught me to always keep my calm when faced with a tough situation. Appearing to be impatient and worried would only aggravate the situation to become worse. I also learnt that in such situations, teamwork should be the last resort and every member should work as a team member without any member taking a lead role. In this case, the obstetrician would have worked closely with the midwife to identify the problem and seek for medical solutions thus deliver quality health care solutions to the delivering mother. Such an obstetrician did not have sufficient professional training to acknowledge the role of the midwife in the delivery room (Fitzgerald, 2008, p.24). Furthermore, such kind of professional disguise will only destroy the gains made by the midwife towards creating a formidable team.
I have also learnt the effectiveness of working in partnership with the patients through listening and responding to their concerns (General Medical Council, 2006). I have also learnt that it would be important to consult with the patients regarding their treatment and care before commencing such. While reflecting this experience, I shall work closely with my team members as a midwife and constantly communicate with the relevant authorities and IP team members for quality health and social care delivery.
I truly acknowledge that I would need a succinct understanding of teamwork and modern approaches towards health and social solutions. As a future midwife, I will always ensure that I initiate effective communication with the rest of my IP team members so as to work together for the common good of the patients or service users. The experience that I learnt was indeed useful as it would enable me to effectively become a successful midwife. The person-centred approach was particularly imperative in ensuring that I am able to understand the genesis of multi-disciplinary teamwork (Lewis et al., 2008, p.93).
I indeed acknowledge that issues relating to patient care should be approached with interprofessional teamwork so that each medical practitioner offers advice in his or her area of professional knowledge while ensuring that they work as a team.
I have been able to identify my part as a future midwife which emanate from my experience in the multi-disciplinary conference. This conference has also enabled me to have a clear picture of what medical professionals go through and what can be done to avert such challenges. I now feel adequately capable of tacking these challenges that my career as a midwife will provide. I have also learnt to take into account the views of other people when making important decisions. Indeed issues of race, gender, class and sexuality among others should not affect multi-disciplinary teamwork. Cultural and social differences should not be construed as effective barriers to IP teamwork.