Developing competency in interprofessional collaboration: strategies and outcomes of four years of the IPODE Project — ASN Events

Developing competency in interprofessional collaboration: strategies and outcomes of four years of the IPODE Project (#283)

Susan Blacker 1 2 , Deborah McLeod 3 , Janet Curran 4
  1. University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  2. St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada
  3. Psychosocial Oncology, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  4. Research, IWK Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada

Aims: The Interprofessional Psychosocial Oncology Distance Education (IPODE) project is a web-based, pan-Canadian education project of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO). The IPODE Project offers 13-week and shorter interprofessional courses in psychosocial oncology. In this paper we discuss the interprofessional education framework that informs the courses, the strategies and the outcomes related to interprofessional collaboration competencies.

Methods: The first IPODE course was offered in 2008 and since then the IPODE project has enrolled more than 1000 learners (up to the winter of 2012). In most courses, interprofessional groups of learners meet in real-time seminars on a weekly basis and engage in learning experiences that address both psychosocial oncology and interprofessional collaboration objectives.  A theoretical framework of interprofessional collaboration competencies provided a foundation to design and evaluate the activities embedded in the course. A previously validated quantitative tool with additional qualitative items formed the foundation for evaluation. The tool was administered at T1 (pre-course) and T2 (post course).  A 3-month most qualitative survey asked about changes in practice that had been accomplished since the end of the course.

Results: The IPE activities within the course appear to have had the desired effects. While the theoretical framework and the survey results provided insight as to what worked and why, some benefits were surprising. In particular, nurses appeared to benefit more, especially with regard to reducing professional isolation and feeling supported by other disciplines.

Conclusions: Designing IPE experiences in a web-based environment is challenging. However, our outcomes suggest that not only is this possible, but IPE seems to contribute to increased confidence in providing psychosocial care and improved collaboration and sense of  “being a team”. Using a theoretical framework to design and evaluate learning strategies helps to position the IPODE courses in relation to other IPE experiences that are available, particularly for graduate students. In some situations the IPODE courses have become accepted as satisfying the requirement for IPE experiences in graduate programs. 

This abstract is planned as part of the symposium entitled, "Improving interprofessional collaboration for psychosocial oncology - A view form three jurisdictions"