Collaboration and Communication in Healthcare: Interprofessional Practice

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Course Date: 15 September 2014 to 20 October 2014 (5 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

Interprofessional collaborative practice is key to safe, high quality, accessible, patient-centered care. This course aims to introduce health professions learners to the fundamental principles and skills for effective interprofessional collaborative practice.

Estimated Workload: 4-6 hours/week

Course Instructors

Maria Wamsley

Dr. Wamsley is a general internist and a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She received her medical degree from the University of California Los Angeles and completed her residency training at the UCSF San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care Internal Medicine training program. She joined the faculty in the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine in 1996 where she directs student programs and sees primary care patients in the ambulatory setting.


Dr. Wamsley co-leads the School of Medicine’s collaborations with the UCSF Center for Innovation in Interprofessional Education (CIIPE) and serves as co-chair of the UCSF IPE Curriculum Development Working Group for CIIPE. This committee is charged with creating curriculum for the five professional programs at UCSF (Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy and Dentistry). Dr. Wamsley has extensive experience in developing, implementing and assessing IPE curricula. She has expertise in the use of standardized patients for formative and assessment purposes with nationally disseminated (and peer reviewed) teaching cases.  She is co-director for the PISCES Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship and co-director for the Health Professions Education Pathway, which provides additional training for undergraduate and graduate health professional learners interested in pursuing careers as educators. She is a member of the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators and has expertise in faculty development and training across a wide range of topic areas.

Angel Chen

Angel K Chen, PNP is an Associate Clinical Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Family Health Care Nursing in the School of Nursing. Ms. Chen also serves as Co-Chair of the IPE Curriculum Development Working Group (CDWG), in the UCSF Center for Innovation in Interprofessional Education (CIIPE). Ms. Chen's educational research (funded through UCSF Medical Center and School of Nursing Clinical Nurse Research Award) is focused on IPE in the clinical setting, studying how interprofessional faculty preceptors adjust teaching and enhance IPE in the clinical setting for advanced practice nursing and medical learners. Ms. Chen also serves on the SoN MS Program Redesign Committee for 2013-2014. Ms. Chen's clinical practice is at San Francisco General Hospital in the Pediatric Urology Clinic (out of Childrens Health Center). She enjoys working with the Urology Chief Residents in caring for children and families of SFGH, managing conditions such as phimosis, retractile testis, UTI, hydronephrosis, vesicoureteral reflux, and dysfunctional voiding/enuresis. Prior to serving as the Vice Chair, she was the Specialty Director for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program. She teaches in a variety of courses for the PNP program and also coordinates PNP Clinical Placements for the students, working with our excellent pool of clinical preceptors/volunteer faculty. 

Josette Rivera

Dr. Josette Rivera is a geriatrician and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She received her medical degree from the University of Rochester and completed residency training in Primary Care Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview, followed by a clinical and research fellowship in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Rivera joined the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF in 2008, where she serves as an educator, program leader, and clinician, providing primary and palliative care to homebound older adults through the UCSF Housecalls Program.

Dr. Rivera’s educational and research endeavors focus on interprofessional education and practice, particularly in the context of caring for older adults. Dr. Rivera co-leads the School of Medicine’s collaborations with the UCSF Center for Innovation in Interprofessional Education. She is the Deputy Director of the Northern California Geriatric Education Center, a federally supported program to train health professions faculty, students, and practitioners to provide optimal interprofessional health care to older adults. She is also the founding chair of the American Geriatrics Society Interprofessional Education and Practice Special Interest Group.

Susan Hyde

Dr. Susan Hyde is an Associate Professor of Clinical Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  She received her dental degree, completed residency training in Dental Public Health, and finished a multidisciplinary fellowship in Geriatrics at UCSF.  Dr. Hyde also obtained her Master of Public Health and Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology degrees at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Hyde serves as the Chair of the Division of Oral Epidemiology and Dental Public Health, and is a member of both the steering committee and the training and career development program for the NIH-funded Center to Address Disparities in Children’s Oral Health (CAN-DO).  The CAN-DO Center is a model for successful collaborations for interprofessional health disparities research, as its partners include academic institutions across the nation, federal and state programs, foundations, and community health centers.  Dr. Hyde is the Director for Dentistry of UCSF’s Multidisciplinary Fellowship in Geriatrics, a two-year program that provides interprofessional, team-based clinical, education, leadership, and research training in the care of older adults, with a focus on underserved populations.  In her role as the Faculty Lead for Interprofessional Education for the School of Dentistry, Dr. Hyde collaborates with faculty counterparts from all UCSF’s professional schools to develop interprofessional clinical and didactic curricula, faculty and staff development programs, evaluation and assessment metrics, and advocacy for interprofessional education.

Rebecca Shunk

Rebecca Shunk is currently the physician co-director of the Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She is also the Associate Director of the PRIME Program as well as an Associate Professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Her academic interests are in resident education and in teaching the cardiac physical exam. During her tenure as a Johns Hopkins faculty member she participated and facilitated in the Johns Hopkins Faculty Development Course as well as participated in the Curriculum Development Course. The UCSF Teaching Scholars course further fostered her curriculum development skills. Her favorite projects have included medical student and resident cardiac physical exam curricula, performance improvement curricula and the team-based continuity practice. Her work in developing a team-based model of ambulatory internal medicine residency training led her to her current role. She and her team innovate to develop strategies to improve interprofessional, team-based health professions education in patient-centered primary care. In this model Nurse Practitioner students and Internal Medicine residents along with other interprofessional trainees partner with clinic staff to provide team-based care.


Course Description

Interprofessional collaborative practice is essential to the provision of safe, high quality patient-centered care. This course will introduce health professions learners to the concept of interprofessional collaborative practice and the evidence base that supports its effectiveness. In order for learners to better understand the professionals with whom they will collaborate, specific modules will focus on the roles of various healthcare professionals, their scope of practice, and settings in which they work. Additional modules will focus on communication strategies and tools for effective interprofessional collaborative practice and learners will practice to gain competence in interprofessional communication, conflict management and negotiation. Finally, the course will introduce the concepts of leadership and membership and explore leadership and membership strategies to promote effective interprofessional teamwork.    


Week 1 - What is it all about? Introducing core interprofessional concepts

  1. Define interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional collaborative practice.
  2. Discuss the evidence regarding benefits of interprofessional collaborative practice, including the impact on quality and safety of patient care.
  3. Compare and contrast different forms of interprofessional collaboration.
  4. Discuss factors that influence interprofessional collaboration.
  5. Describe key elements of effective interprofessional team-based care.
  6. Identify barriers to interprofessional collaborative practice.


Week 2 - Who is on my team? Understanding roles, responsibilities and abilities of different professions

  1. Describe the roles, responsibilities and abilities of various health care professions involved in collaborative work, including their training and scopes of practice.
  2. Describe one’s own professional role in relation to collaborating with other professionals.
  3. Describe the process by which the scope of practice for a healthcare professional is determined.
  4. Discuss and describe the role of patients, their families and community representatives as integral partners in the collaborative care delivery process.
  5. Assess how different clinical settings might affect roles and responsibilities of health professionals.


Week 3 - How will our work get done? Understanding communication, accountability and task distribution.

  1. List the benefits of collaborative practice to your work.
  2. Describe the importance of communication for effective collaboration.
  3. Name essential elements of effective communication.
  4. Demonstrate use of strategies and tools that facilitate effective communication and collaboration.
  5. Identify ways to distribute and follow-up on tasks among interprofessional health care providers.


Week 4 – How to tackle challenges: Conflict management and negotiation

  1. Describe the sources of conflict in the healthcare setting.
  2. Describe two main types of conflict and how they are interrelated as well as impact team functioning.
  3. Compare and contrast different styles of managing conflict.
  4. Describe one’s own conflict management style.
  5. Demonstrate a three-step approach to managing conflict.
  6. Describe communication strategies helpful in the management of conflict.


Week 5 – How can we work together? Leadership and Membership

  1. Define clinical leadership.
  2. Discuss leadership functions that facilitate team-based health care.
  3. Describe the concepts and importance of psychological safety and leader inclusiveness.
  4. Analyze one’s own strengths, areas for development, and leadership style.
  5. Define team membership styles and their impact.
  6. Demonstrate use of strategies and tools for effective healthcare team leadership and membership.


Each of the five online modules will be two hours in length and will be comprised of a series short (10-15 minute) lectures, supported with critical reading and interactive exercises which will assess student learning. The course will be offered over a five-week period.

Course Workload

4-6 hours/week

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