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Interprofessional working in the Health Service

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´╗┐Interprofessional working In recent times the importance of successful interprofessional working in the health service has been brought to the forefront. In order to optimise the health care and well being of our clients and service users we must all work together in order to achieve the best possible outcomes. The Department of Health (2003) advised that in order to optimise the care and continuously evaluate our clients and services users changing needs, successful interprofessional working was essential. As students within health and social care, the opportunity to participate in interprofessional studies has allowed us all to gain a clear understanding of what it actually means and the important part it plays. By allowing us to work with future professionals from different fields we have been able to gain a further insight into our own accountabilities and that of those around us. Bliss et al (2000) stated that he considered it imperative as it allowed an insight into each others roles and enabled us to view our clients from a more holistic view point. We arrived within our groups at the conference as strangers from different perspective professions, however by allowing each other the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our roles we began to break down communication barriers. It became apparent very quickly that in order to work successfully within our groups we needed to have ground rules in place or you risk the struggle for power by stronger group members steering the conversation and topics. Payne (2000) spoke of the negative effect the fight for power can have within a group as oppression can infiltrate when we do not all see ourselves as equal. The success of group work is dependent upon the equal participation of all group members and the sharing of values and ground rules from which to work with, Henneman et al (1995) stated that all group members needed to be willing to participate in order for the team to work. ...read more.


We must remember to treat our patients from an ethical view point, but if the sharing of information with other agencies is in the best interest of our clients we should actively seek to do so to prevent harm or suffering to our service users and increase the level of service they are receiving (Department of Health and Social Security, 1978). The group work which we completed during the seminars highlighted to me the importance of ensuring that our colleagues are aware of what our own professional accountabilities are and in turn be aware of theirs and where there is any uncertainty that we discuss it and reach a solution. Looking back on my practice experience I am aware that this does not always happen and by utilising Gibbs (1988) model of reflection, I have been able to gain a deeper understanding as to what brought this about and how I would change things in the future. During my first placement I encountered a gentleman whom I believed may have been classified as a vulnerable adult, and discussed this with my mentor whom agreed with me. However on reflection of the situation now I do not feel the situation was dealt with in a satisfactory manner due to lack of knowledge on the appropriate course of action that should be followed to ensure the patients best interests. At the time as a first year student on my first placement I felt very uncomfortable that nothing was done to aid the situation but also felt unable to do anything myself due to a lack of knowledge. I am grateful now to be furnished with more confidence through my learning, that in future I could do more to intervene and rectify the situation. A second example that highlighted the need for more understanding of inter agency working was whilst on placement in a rehabilitation unit where it appeared that beds were being blocked due to issues with social care at home or placements in nursing/residential homes. ...read more.


Journal of Advanced Nursing, 21, 103-109. Huws Jones, R. (1971) The doctor and the social service. London: Athlone Press. Irvine. R., Kerridge, I., McPhee, J., and Freeman, S. (2002) Interprofessionalism and ethics: consensus or clash of cultures? Journal of Interprofessional Care, 16(3), 199-210. Kennedy, I (2001) Learning from Bristol: The Report of the Public Inquiry into Children?s Heart Surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary 1984-1995. London: The Stationery Office. Available from http://www.bristol-inuiry.org.uk (Accessed 15 November 2008). Laming, Lord. (2003) Inquiry into the Death of Victoria Climbie. London. The Stationery office. Lyne, P., Allen, D. and Satherley, P. (2001) Systematic Review of Evidence of Effective Methods for Removing barriers to change to improve collaborative working. Cardiff: The National Assembly for Wales. Masterson, A. (2002) Cross-boundary working: a macro-political analysis of the impact on professional roles. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 11, 331-339. Payne, M. (2000) Teamwork in Multiprofessional Care, Basingstoke: McMillan Press Ltd. Stapleton S.R. (1998) Team-building: making collaborative practive work, Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, 43, 12-18. Appendix I 1) Communication issues between Health and Social Care professionals: Time constraints and staff resources can negatively affect IP communication because they prevent professionals from concentrating on the service user effectively/optimally. The multitude of barriers to communication can be oversome by the attitudes of the professional towards team work and sharing of knowledge. 2) Ethical issues which may include contrasting professional perspectives/values: Professional differences in opinion can lead to a break down in the quality of care provided to the patient. The varied perspectives of the members of the MDT can be fully utilised by employing effective communication skills, which will then lead to efficient interprofessional collaboration and effective client centred care. 3) Stereotyping, power imbalances and team processes: Respect for each profession's autonomy and professional equality for each member of the MDT as well as the service user should be extended at all times to ensure the highest possible quality of care. Stereotyping within the healthcare setting must be eradicated in order to achieve successful interprofessional relationships. ...read more.

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