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AACN Advances Nursing's Role in Interprofessional Education

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AACN Expands its Leadership Role in the Area of
Interprofessional Education as Nursing’s Representative to IPEC

In response to the need for a national coordinating body focused on fostering collaborative, patient-centered care, six national health profession associations have formally joined together to create the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC).  On February 3, 2012, leaders from dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and public health signed a memorandum of understanding to reaffirm their commitment to continued collaboration and leadership on initiatives related to interprofessional education and practice. IPEC’s founding organizations include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Dental Education Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Association of Schools of Public Health. 

“By accelerating the movement toward truly interprofessional education and practice, IPEC is working to heighten collaboration among all providers to advance high quality, integrated healthcare delivery,” said AACN President Kathleen Potempa. “AACN is pleased to represent nursing in this important work to effectively transform the patient experience as recommended in the IOM report on the Future of Nursing."  

Interprofessional education (IPE) involves shared learning experiences among health profession students across disciplines, with the goals of building strong clinical teams and improving health outcomes. Leading authorities including the World Health Organization, Institute of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation among others have all identified IPE as an effective way to enhance the preparation of the healthcare workforce and optimize care delivery. IPEC was created to provide leadership around national initiatives focused on IPE advancement and to disseminate information on IPE exemplars and collaborative practice innovations.

While taking steps to incorporate as a nonprofit organization, IPEC has successfully collaborated on a number of projects since its formation more than 3 years ago.  In May 2011, IPEC released the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, which identified individual-level core competencies needed by all health professionals to provide integrated, high-quality care. (See www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/IPECReport.pdf.) This seminal document has been disseminated broadly to health profession schools and has sparked a wave of implementation efforts by educators looking to prepare clinicians to meet contemporary practice standards.

In addition, the six IPEC organizations were approached in May 2011 to serve as founding members of the Institute of Medicine’s Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education, which is set to launch later this month. Inspired in large part by the 2010 Lancet Commission report on Health Professionals for the New Century, this forum will convene stakeholders to illuminate issues in health professional education and support an ongoing, innovative mechanism to incubate and evaluate new ideas. (See http://healthprofessionals21.org). The IPEC organizations also served as sponsors of the Collaborating Across Borders (CAB) III conference held in November 2011, which brought together more than 750 government leaders, policy makers, healthcare professionals, educators, and students with a strong interest in facilitating interprofessional health education and practice.

Looking ahead, IPEC is sponsoring its first faculty development institute on Building Your Foundation for Interprofessional Education on May 21-23, 2012 in Herndon, VA, which is located just outside of Washington, DC. The IPEC Institute provides faculty from across the health professions with the opportunity to meet with peers in plenary and interactive learning sessions focused on building strong programs for team-based learning. Attendees will divide into teams with three to five members representing faculty from a minimum of three health professions. At least one team member should be from a dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy, or public health school. All members can be from one institution, or teams can be constructed from health profession schools at two or more institutions committed to collaborating on interprofessional learning. The $995 per participant fee includes hotel lodging for three nights, meals, and institute registration. Space is limited to approximately 30 teams.

Registration for the upcoming IPEC Institute will begin February 22, 2012.  For details, see http://www.aacp.org/meetingsandevents/othermeetings/Pages/2012IPECInstitute.aspx

For more information on nursing’s role in advancing IPE, see
http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ipe.