Answer to "What strategies can I use to motivate students who do not consider IPE important for their professional development?"


It is not surprising that students may struggle to see the relevance of IPE in their professional training. They have probably worked hard to get into their professional program and want to be the best health professional they can be. Linking interprofessional education to the underlying values of their own profession is an important strategy to manage their potential indifference (Paihsuan et al, 2015). All health professions have safe practice as a core value. Introducing students to the many well-documented instances when patient/client safety was compromised by poor interprofessional practice resulting in dire consequences can help demonstrate the human costs (Baldwin & Daugherty, 2008).  Inviting patients/clients/families who have experienced good and poor interprofessional care to meet with students and explain their experiences can help students see the human outcomes of good and not so good interprofessional care.


Another important shared value across the health professions is that of justice or fairness related to distribution of resources. Interprofessional team-based care allows for services to be delivered efficiently and ensures that the right health professional (not necessarily the most expensive health professional) is delivering the appropriate service. In communities that offer a universally funded health service and those that offer a more privatised model, ensuring that costs and efficiencies are maintained will allow more patients to receive services (Laughlin et al, 2015).


Introducing students to some experienced role models from across the professions who demonstrate best practice in their own professions and who value interprofessional practice can motivate and help students to see that practicing interprofessionally is not an impediment to good uniprofessional practice.


Finally, emerging literature suggests that, when health professionals are employed in collaborative, highly functioning interprofessional teams, the incidence of staff burnout is lowered (Helfrich et al, 2014).



BALDWIN, D.C, and DAUGHERTY, SR. (2008). Interprofessional conflict and medical errors: results of a national multi-speciality survey of hospital residents in the US. Journal of Interprofessonal Care, 22:6, 573-586

HELFRICH, C.D., DOLAN, E.D., SIMONETTI, J., REID, R., JOOS, S., WAKEFIELD, BJ., SCHECTMAN, G., STARK, R., FIHN, SD., HARVEY, HB., and NELSON, K. (2014). Elements of team-based behaviour in a patient-centred medical home are associated with lower burnout among VA primary care employees. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 29(Suppl 2): 659-666

LAUGHLIN, AM, RYAN-HADDAD, A, DOLL, J, PACKARD, K, BEGLEY, K, TODD, M, HARRIS, B, and YEE, J. (2015). Preparing Students for Team-Based Care for Vulnerable Populations. Health and Interprofessional Practice, 2(4), eP1087. 

TSOU, P., SHIH, J., and HO, M-J. (2015). A comparative study of professional and interprofessional values between health professional associations, Journal of Interprofessional Care, 29:6, 628-633