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.   Having worked together on the formation of statements (see Appendix I)   regarding our views on the issues facing interprofessional working we were able to realise together the boundaries and constraints facing us all in our chosen professions.   Communication alerted its self as being paramount in order to provide the most efficient and effective care for our client/service user. The practice of good communication, being both honest and open is dependent upon the participation of all those involved in order to draw conclusion and make decisions (Stapleton 1998) and in the absence of this we will not achieve the level of care that we aspire to.   Many issues can effect the communication of the multi disciplinary team such as stereo typing and hierarchy.   It appears that in order to work successfully as a united team,   the health care system must rid its self of these misconceptions.   We must strive to work together with equal respect and   allow our voices to be heard.   However Boulding (1990) challenged the ability for this to work by writing on the difficulties that arise when working in larger groups, the struggle for equality becomes more difficult, probably due to the need for stronger leadership.   It would appear that although the need for equality is paramount to group success there must still be someone leading and steering the group to maintain efficiency. The General Medical Council (2003) stated in ‘Tomorrows Doctors’ the need for all graduates to be aware of the importance of team work within the multi disciplinary environment, which is making a move away from the old fashioned idea where Doctors were stereotyped as being too far up the hierarchy to be involved in the smaller matters concerning patient care, it is much more recognised now that we must treat our patients from a holistic view point and consider all factors that can affect the individuals health and general well being.   This system should include the client service user in any decisions and planning in order to respect the autonomy of them as an individual.   When the multi disciplinary team works effectively the varied perspectives of the professionals concerned should ensure that the client is receiving the optimum service for which they are entitled.

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All professionals working within the health service are governed by boundaries and policies which they must work within in order to assist their clients or service users, difficulties can arise within the multidisciplinary team when we do not fully understand the implications and actions that can be undertaken by our colleagues in order to achieve the goals of the client whilst working within these boundaries.   The group work we participated in highlighted this fact and we realised together the importance of open questioning and being prepared to share information for the good of our patients was the only ...

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