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Discuss the potential benefits and difficulties associated with inter-professional collaborative working, drawing examples from your own experiences of the collaborative group work which forms an integral aspect of the module.

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Introduction

Student number: 03973107 Discuss the potential benefits and difficulties associated with inter-professional collaborative working, drawing examples from your own experiences of the collaborative group work which forms an integral aspect of the module. Collaboration according to both the Oxford Dictionary of Current English and Webster's means simply to "labour together" or to work jointly. Michaund (1970) defined inter-professional collaboration as involving the shared training, which aims to help professionals work together more effectively in the interests of their clients and patients by enhancing cooperation. Payne (1990) described three forms to a team being collaborative, leader centred and individualistic to from a basis to multidisciplinary working. Overtrait (1997a) felt that there were four parts to an inter-professional approach these were, integration, team membership, client pathway and decision-making and the management structure of a team. This essay will firstly address some of the issues that have highlighted the need for inter-professional collaboration. Secondly it will look at some of the policy initiatives that advocate inter-professional collaboration and attempt to identify opportunities and furthermore outline some of the challenges that arise from collaboration. Finally the essay will attempt to illustrate my personal experience of collaboration in an educational setting, in which, policies have outlined that inter-professional collaboration in an educational setting in the form of learning collaboratively, lays down foundations for inter-professional collaboration in the workforce. The importance of interprofessional working has been a topic debated within health and social services for well over a quarter of a century. Inquiry after Inquiry on issues such as child abuse has pointed the finger at health and social work professionals for their failure to work cooperatively and collaboratively together. Recently the Victoria Climbie Inquiry examined and found failures in collaboration, which resulted in Victoria's death. The inquiry concluded that the extent of the failure to protect Victoria was lamentable. The report went on to say that tragically it required nothing more than basic good practice being put into operation. ...read more.

Middle

In which practitioners would no longer see specific tasks as theirs. Student number: 03973107 It is recognised that collaboration is not reserved for practitioners. The Health and Social Care Act (2001) placed a duty of partnership on individual agencies. As part of this, Health authorities and Primary care groups and Trusts are required to have representation on their boards from the local authority. The partnership flexibilities contained within the Acts offer opportunities for closer working and in some cases are now a prior requirement in order to access funding. There are many advantages including the delegation of functions to each other, the ability to pool budgets and for integrated provision. The establishment of care trusts has been made possible as one way of enabling the commission of health and social care services to take place within a single organisation framework and within single management, financial and information systems. This integration should provide a continuity of care. Although there may be obvious and not so obvious collaborative barriers between practitioners they are not compounded by the need to work across agency or developmental boundaries. More often than not in order to deliver continuity of care different combinations of services, workers and skills are required. The problems of coordinating such a service have been tackled in many ways and at all levels including major restructuring of services, reinforcement of procedures, production of guidelines and not least through the cooperative efforts of workers at ground level. Changes in service provision have brought about Interprofessional groups for training professionals. In this way collaboration becomes and forms part of the training and can be smoothly carried over into individual professions. Interprofessional education plays an essential part in collaboration as it overcomes boundaries such as stereotypes. In learning and working together from ground level, during training, rapport is built and respect and mutual understanding of professions and what they have to offer is gained. ...read more.

Conclusion

This structure gave us common goals to aspire to. I consider all of these identified points to be essential components in any successful collaborative team. However in establishing the positive dynamics of our group it becomes clear that an imbalance to any of the dynamics in anyway may cause conflict. An example of which could be if responsibilities were not adhered to some members of a team may have to undertake more work. Research into the impact on interprofessional education is beginning to show that this form of education can promote effective collaboration. An example of which is the study by Parsell et al (1998) in which it was found that interprofessional education improves poor professional attitudes. Other studies advocating Interprofessional education include Falconer et al (1993) and Brown (2000) in which both studies noted that interprofessional education resulted in an improvement of patient care. If we are mindful of the numerous ways in which in which inter-professional collaboration is challenged we are armed with an insight that can help us overcome Student number: 03973107 such problems and sustain collaboration. Research indicates that the delivery of well co-ordinated effective services can be inhibited by a number of factors. These include uncertainties around overlapping professional roles, confusion over clear management lines relating to different staff (Overtveit, 1993). Interprofessional stereotypes can also have a detrimental effect on collaboration at an interpersonal level. This can be seen in the Jasmine Beckford child abuse inquiry (Blyth & Milner, 1990). The inquiry highlighted that a female health visitor had voiced legitimate concerns yet they were ignored in favour of those of a male doctor. Further suggested factors discouraging collaboration arose from a study at St Bartholomew's School of Nursing and Midwifery (Freeth, D., 2001. Sustaining interprofessional collaboration. Journal of interprofessional care, 15(1). Furthermore despite the drive towards inter-professional working changing the healthcare system and despite the priority being given to this way of working in policy, education and research, there is little evidence that the concept of inter-professional working is filtering down to ward level (Kenny, G, 2002, Interprofessional working: opportunities and challenges. Nursing Standard, 17(6), pp33-35). ...read more.

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