Programme rationale

The World Health Organization has tasked you, health educators and practitioners, with delivering interprofessional education and practice as the model for future health and social care delivery.

Do you know what interprofessional collaboration looks like? See if you can pick which of these scenarios show interprofessional collaboration at work. [Scenarios text alternative: see drop-down  ‘What does interprofessional collaboration look like?‘ tab below’]

view scenarios

What does interprofessional collaboration look like?

Read the following scenarios. Do you think they are examples of interprofessional practice?

Scenario 1:

Frank is lying in a hospital bed looking confused. The medical notes at the foot of his bed read:

“14:22 Frank’s vitals all okay, please discharge.” Dr Alex

“14:41 Frank is unstable on his feet due to muscle weakness. High injury risk. Needs rehab before discharge.” Physio JB

“15:30 OT can take care of him at home, I need the beds – I have women giving birth in the corridors!” Dr Alex

“16:45 Frank has suspected UTI. Catheter inserted due to retention. Urine specimen sent to lab.” Nurse Sam

“16:55 Have scheduled physical exam for Frank tomorrow at 9am to assess mobility.” Physio JB

Is scenario 1 an example of interprofessional practice?

Did you say Yes? {feedback for “yes”: No, the doctor is prioritising access to beds over Frank’s safety. The doctor is confusing the roles of Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists. The health team is communicating ineffectively via Frank’s patient notes, not the ideal forum for collaborative decision making.}

Did you say No? {feedback for “no”: Well done! You’ve probably noticed that the doctor is prioritising access to beds over Frank’s safety. The doctor also doesn’t realise that Occupational Therapists don’t take care of patient’s physiotherapy rehabilitation at home. The health team is communicating ineffectively via Frank’s patient notes, not the ideal forum for collaborative decision making.}

Scenario 2:

Arnold is looking dazed and very confused. He is remembering conversations with three of his health care professionals:

Conversation 1 with the OT: “Arnold, I think we should get your legs moving first so you can get to the toilet and walk around.”

Conversation 2 with the Physio: “Arnold, since your stroke we need to get your left arm and torso mobile again so you can feed yourself.”

Conversation 3 with the Doctor: “Arnold, I’m worried about some swelling on your left temporal lobe. I want complete bed rest for one week to avoid another stroke.”

Is scenario 2 an example of interprofessional practice?

Did you say Yes? {feedback for “yes”: No. If Arnold’s medical team were collaborating effectively they would have discussed Arnold’s case together with Arnold and would have an agreed plan of care. Currently they all have conflicting advice. Arnold’s safety is at risk, as is the quality of his care due to this conflicting advice.}

Did you say No? {feedback for “no”: Well done! If Arnold’s medical team were collaborating effectively they would have discussed Arnold’s case together with Arnold and would have an agreed plan of care. Currently they all have conflicting advice. Arnold’s safety is at risk, as is the quality of his care due to this conflicting advice.}

Scenario 3:

Mrs French is lying in her hospital bed. Her health care professionals are talking to each other about Mrs French together at the foot of her bed. She is able to hear what they are saying to each other:

Health care professional 1: “Is Mrs French ready to go home? Her leg is fine now.”

Health care professional 2: “Her BP isn’t good. Can we stabilise her first?”

Health care professional 3: “She is very anxious here in hospital. Her BP will improve at home.”

Health care professional 4: “We’ve set everything up for her return home. We can support her and monitor her BP.”

Mrs French is thinking: “I don’t think I’m ready to go home.”

Is scenario 3 an example of interprofessional practice?

Did you say Yes? {feedback for “yes”: It is great that Mrs French’s health team is discussing her release constructively and collaboratively. But how about including her in the conversation to see what her thoughts and feelings are about her return home? That would be a truly interprofessional example}

Did you say No? {feedback for “no”: It’s a fairly good example of professionals collaborating effectively. Why did you say no? They didn’t include Mrs French in the discussion did they! She is a vital part of her health team}

Scenario 4:

Frances is in her hospital bed surrounded by three of her health care professionals and her husband, Jack. Here is what they are all saying:

Health care professional 1: “Frances, we want to know how you feel about going home? And Jack, do you have any concerns?”

Health care professional 2: “Frances, you’ve said you’re worried about getting regular meals at home. How do you feel about meals on wheels?”

Frances: “That sounds very helpful!”

Health care professional 3: “We are all very happy with your progress and as we’ve discussed, we can continue physio at home to reach your goal of getting back to bingo.”

Jack: “With the meals and Frances’ home therapy taken care of I have no concerns. Thank you all for including us in all of the decision making.”

Is scenario 4 an example of interprofessional practice?

Did you say Yes? {feedback for “yes”: Yes Frances’ team has obviously talked as a group, resolving issues together with Frances. They are considering Frances’ safety and care and are communicating with respect for each others’ role in her wellbeing. This is a fine example of interprofessional practice.}

Did you say No? {feedback for “no”: No! Frances’ team has obviously talked as a group, resolving issues together with Frances. They are considering Frances’ safety and care and are communicating with respect for each others’ role in her wellbeing. This is a fine example of interprofessional practice.}


As seen in the scenarios, a key element of the interprofessional approach is that the client is a member of the team. Watch the video below to discover What do people need from health care providers? What is it that we should strive to achieve?

How do we achieve this change in Australia? Like all significant change initiatives widespread and transformational leadership is required. We need to build both our leadership capabilities and those of our colleagues.

World leading figure on interprofessional practice, Dr Joshua Tepper comments on the value of this leadership programme.

This remainder of this website comprises:

  • Facilitator preparation
  • Deliver the programme
  • Project team

NEXT: Facilitator preparation


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