Preparation for Interprofessional Education

There are certain types of clinical environments that are more conducive to team-based learning than others. The presence or simulation of patients with complex medical conditions provides exceptional opportunities for learners to acquire collaborative care competencies, and to learn both interdependence and other cultural competencies. The list below describes the infrastructure that is necessary for a clinical environment to teach team-based care to students and/or health care employees.

Characteristics of the Academic Participants
Students/Employees from at least two different disciplines/professions

  • Should be at the same clinical site, at the same time (Multiple participants from as many disciplines as possible will enhance the experience; The number of participants from each discipline should be as equal as possible)
  • Should have a foundation in the competencies that they will be acquiring through an interprofessional education experience
  • Should have a mastery of their own scope of practice
  • Should have a working understanding of the other health professions that they will be learning from, with, and about

College/University Faculty

  • Needs to possess knowledge of core interprofessional competencies
  • Committed to promoting collaborative learning and care
  • Willingness to integrate lessons on collaborative care throughout the educational curriculum


  • Is committed to a team-based approach to teaching students and providing care
  • Has previous experience teaching students
  • Has regular interaction with various health professionals

Team Facilitator*

  • Is prepared to act as an advocate for practice transformation
  • Has the skills to guide student and team learning
  • Has knowledge of the health and social care professions they are facilitating
  • Is committed to team-based learning and care

*Consult the Tool Kit item titled “The Role of the Interprofessional Facilitator”

Characteristics of the Clinical Site

  • The patient population served by the clinical site should be able to benefit from a collaborative, team-based approach to care
  • Team-based care is designed for patients who have complex health conditions—unless that patient requires the care of multiple professionals, it makes little sense to assemble a treatment team for him or her
  • A successful effort requires that students and preceptors have patients who require the interventions of most, if not all, of the team members

Opportunities to learn

  • There must be opportunities for students to learn from, with, and about each other
  • The team must be together to learn together—otherwise, they will merely be learning about each other, not how to operate as a team
  • Time and space should be set aside for students to have meaningful, facilitated discussions about specific patients, each other’s roles at the clinical site, and approach to care


  • It is essential that the executive and medical leadership of the teaching or clinical training site be fully committed to team-based practice
  • Medical and executive leadership must understand interprofessional education and care, and successfully communicate its value to staff
  • All parties involved should share a mutual vision, pursuing the same goals and objectives