A well-known definition of interprofessional education is provided by the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE).
"When two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care" (CAIPE, 2002)
Interprofessional learning (IPL) therefore is:
"Learning arising from interaction between members (or students) of two or more professions. This may be a product of interprofessional education or happen spontaneously in the workplace or in education settings." (Freeth, Hammick, Reeves, Koppel, & Barr, 2005)
IPL is more than observing a student or clinician from another discipline. Engaging in reflection and discussion about similarities and differences between different professions is when learning takes place (Thistlethwaite & Nisbet, 2007). This is also when misconceptions and stereotypes come to light and communication skills can be practiced.
The ultimate aim of IPL is to increase communication and collaboration between health professionals in the workplace. This will improve client outcomes and reduce the risk of adverse events arising from professionals working in isolation.
Though IPL is not a new concept, it is a concept which is continuously developing. A publication demonstrating the importance of IPL in health education and practice is the World Health Organization (WHO) report ‘Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care’ (2010). This report was the product of an international WHO Study Group and highlights the importance of incorporating IPL in the health curriculum.
The IpAC Program is dedicated to the development of a range of interprofessional learning resources. These learning resources consist of presentations with a facilitator manual, as well as interprofessional learning through sequential simulation resources, developed in collaboration with the ECU Health Simulation Centre.
The interprofessional learning resources support the facilitation of interprofessional learning tutorials for health students and health professionals. The resources have been developed to be flexible in use, enabling educators or trainers to give participants the opportunity to learn with, from and about one another through case studies.