Building Interprofessional Competencies Into Medical Education and Assessment

Building Interprofessional Competencies Into Medical Education and Assessment

Susan Elaine Mackintosh (Western University of Health Sciences, USA) and Emmanuel Katsaros (Western University of Health Sciences, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3066-5.ch005


The goal of allopathic and osteopathic medical education is to develop the medical student into a competent and caring physician. As the evolving healthcare system continues to evolve and intersect with an increased breadth and depth of medical knowledge and an aging and more complex patient population, the emerging physician must now rely more on a team-based approach to patient-centered healthcare. Integrating interprofessional competencies into the span of the medical education and assessment process via the core competencies and the Entrustable Professional Activities has the potential to help instill not only the knowledge and skills required to practice as a member of an interprofessional healthcare team, but can also help to normalize the culture and thus the expectation of practicing collaboratively with all members of the health team toward the goal of improved patient outcome.
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The ultimate goal of allopathic and osteopathic medical education is to transform the matriculating student from a novice healthcare practitioner student into a highly competent and effective physician. The emerging physician is expected to be prepared to thrive in the healthcare environment and become an exemplary physician who practices safe and effective medicine. This task has become more difficult as the novice physician will encounter not only an increasingly complex healthcare environment, but an environment that now intersects with an aging and more complicated patient population and a marked increase in the breadth and depth of medical knowledge. In this “brave new world” of healthcare, medical education must now incorporate the concept of “no man is an island” as a foundation of training throughout the span of the medical education process. Teaching future physicians to not just function as a member of a healthcare team, but to incorporate the foundations and concepts of teamwork, which includes the patient, in every aspect of care is no longer a luxury reserved for rare cases or certain scenarios like a rapid response team. It must now become critical as a core principle of practice and by extension, medical education. Therefore, it is important that the concepts of interprofessional education, eventually culminating in interprofessional collaborative practice, must be imbedded as a core thread throughout the medical education process possibly in addition to the opportunity to engage in a centralized interprofessional education exposure with different healthcare professions students. The ensuing discussion assumes that healthcare practitioner students are provided an opportunity to engage in a curriculum that studies interprofessional roles and relationships but will additionally explore opportunities to enhance and reinforce interprofessional education core competencies throughout the medical education process.

This chapter will explore critical phases of the process: 1) the vehicle of transforming an entering medical student into a novel physician, which is the journey through the curriculum of the medical education institution, and is traditionally comprised of a pre-clinical (didactic) and a clinical phase, and 2) the juxtaposition of a medical student to entry into graduate medical education (GME). In each phase, the exploration will focus through the lens of teamwork/interprofessional education leading to interprofessional collaborative practice with a focus on patient-centered/relationship centered care. It should be noted that the clinical phase of medical education may somewhat be viewed as a bridge as the students are still expected to be ingrained with the competencies, but will also be expected to start demonstrating satisfactory progress toward achievement of the entrustable professional activities (EPA) ultimately leading toward achievement of the prescribed milestones as a final measurement of their preparedness to enter GME. While the focus of this chapter is on undergraduate medical education, it should be noted that the continuum of medical education does continue throughout the GME process and programs are encouraged to provide opportunities for both students and resident physicians to expand their knowledge and skills for interprofessional collaborative practice.

For the sake of this discussion, the medical education process will primarily focus on core competencies with transition to providing more opportunities to demonstrate entrustment during the clinical phase of the medical education training, and the intersect toward demonstrating readiness for GME will concentrate more on the EPAs demonstrating satisfactory progress of the milestones. It is recognized that there is an element of artificiality in this distinction as throughout the continuum of the medical education process to include GME, there are elements of competencies and milestones that are interwoven throughout the entire span of the process.

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