IPE is a process when students from two or more professional programmes that are involved in healthcare learn about, from and with each other. IPE is an essential step in preparing a ‘collaborative practice-ready’ health workforce. A ‘collaborative practice-ready’ health worker is someone who has learned how to work in an interprofessional team and is competent to do so.
In a healthcare setting, collaborative practice happens when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers and communities to deliver the highest quality of care. As Singapore moves towards an integrated healthcare system, interprofessional collaborative practice will become more prevalent and essential.
There are six core competencies that are required of an undergraduate to become ‘collaborative practice-ready’. These core competencies are:
The ALCNS, the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, the Department of Pharmacy, the Faculty of Dentistry and the Faculty of Art & Social Sciences fully support the idea of incorporating IPE into our respective professional health programmes. An initiative for IPE among healthcare undergraduates in NUS has been undertaken from Academic Year 2011.
In collaboration with the academic staff from participating academic units, existing curricular components have been examined and revised with a view to ensuring that teaching will reflect perspectives from all involved professions. These revised curricular elements are termed ‘Interprofessional Core Curriculum (ICC)’.
Faculty and students are also encouraged to develop IPE Enrichment Activities (IEA). These are optional activities that involve students from two or more academic units and relate to one or more IPE competencies.
The IPE programme will provide a brand of education that is unique in the way of preparing the respective health professional graduates to be ‘collaborative practice-ready’ so that they will fit into an integrated health system readily and provide the best healthcare for the people of Singapore.