NURS 8200 Blog: How Do You Practice Intra- and Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Practice?

NURS 8200 Blog: How Do You Practice Intra- and Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Practice?

NURS 8200 Blog How Do You Practice Intra- and Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Practice

 Case study design is a great idea towards fostering critical thinking skills needed in nursing practice, this leads to fostering collaboration among various disciplines and understanding more of what they do, and expanding thoughts and problem solving skills for students to help guide them in the real world once they graduate. IPEC (2011) as cited by the National League of Nursing (2015) noted team training in educational programs lag behind the actual practice of working in teams, which is a gap that exists between the realities of practice and the utilization of teamwork skills to deliver patient-centered care. Implementing these case study designs are effective when needing to truly commit to learning and expanding the knowledge base of the nursing student. Collaboration with different professionals allows the student to better understand the dynamics of each individual professional area, work as a team and allow them to actually see what role that discipline plays in implementing improved care for the patient. Developing a relationship to work together while understanding each discipline’s role in patient-care assists in building respect, better partnerships and better health outcomes. Barr (1998) as cited in Henry et al. (2018) points out competency based interprofessional education relevancy stages include recognizing and respecting the roles of other professionals. This is an important piece with collaboration and making it work to be effective. 

Professional collaboration is used to address the needs of patient care by way of using a team of professionals making decisions based on the specific needs of the patient’s, in order to improve the care they receive. Interprofessional case conferences is one way the article uses an analysis of the case at hand. Coming together to combine knowledge that exists among the various disciplines to brainstorm and problem solve is just one way collaboration is incorporated to provide what is needed. As Henry et al. (2018) points out, seeing problems through the eyes of another, is a way of requiring students to transfer their problem solving strategies in new ways (Hmelo-Silver, 2004). This contributes to the education students need to expand on their foundational knowledge broadening their understanding of what is involved with treating the patient as a whole. 

I recall my first experience with interdisciplinary collaboration as a new nurse in an orthopedic unit. Once a week the patient’s primary nurse, the physician and referral partner (ie. cardiologist, internist), the social worker, dietician and charge nurse would do grand rounds on the patients, then sit for a conference to determine what the patient needed at that time and upon discharge, and we would then review how we would make it all happen. Collaboration was found essential for the goal of faster recovery, shorter hospital stays and improved care after discharge to prevent negative outcomes in the long run. Ansa et al. (2020) points out interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is a partnership among diverse health professionals to provide quality care to patients, families and caregivers. It is an effective measure to provide teamwork to problem solving complex health issues one patient at a time. 

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Initially, thirty years ago I saw those rounds as  just an additional task at work. When I was placed into the position of charge nurse, I began to understand more clearly how significant each role was within that collaboration and how it ultimately impacted the patients. This is proof of the need for case study design in education to prepare nurses for the real world of collaboration. Once within the professional setting I would suggest placing nurses weekly with a member of the interdisciplinary team, to get a more personal view and understanding of what each discipline involves and how they function to assist with patient care. Then ultimately involve the nurse and a member of the team to work together to problem solve and resolve issues of care for a patient. Keeping a goal in mind for the patient and teaming up a nurse with a team member weekly may allow for a more focused application of care for the patient, and allow for more focused collaborative thinking with the team member. 

NURS 8200 Blog How Do You Practice Intra- and Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Practice
NURS 8200 Blog How Do You Practice Intra- and Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Practice


Ansa, B. E., Zechariah, S., Gates, A. M., Johnson, S. W., Heboyan, V., & De Leo, G. (2020). 

 Attitudes and behavior towards interprofessional collaboration among healthcare 

 Professionals in a large academic medical center. Healthcare, 8(3), 1-14.

Barr, H. (1998). Competent to collaborate: Towards a competency-based model for 

 Interprofessional education. Journal of interprofessional Care, 12, 181-187.


Henry, B., Male, B., Garner, C., & Guernon, A. (2018). Teaching and learning about 

 Interprofessional collaboration through student-designed case study and analysis.

 International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(3), 560-570.

Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-based learning: What and how do students learn?

 Educational Psychology Review, 16(3), 235-266. 

Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel (IPEC). (2011). Core competencies

 For interprofessional collaborative practice: Report of an expert panel. Washington, 


National League for Nursing. (2015). Interprofessional collaboration in education and practice.


Professional Collaboration

Healthcare professionals often build collaborative relationships amongst each other for learning and assisting for a positive outcome.  It is not rare to see intraprofessional collaboration within a floor, in which two or more professions within a discipline, such as healthcare professionals, come together to improve the delivery of care (Meijer, 2016).  In primary care, family nurse practitioner often collaborates with specialty practitioners to implement refractory health conditions such as hypertension or diabetes mellitus that cannot be controlled.  The two or more practitioners collaborate to find the answer to benefit patients and implement interventions for optimal patient outcomes.  Another example is when a primary care practitioner finds a lesion that is atypical during a pelvic exam and seeks assistance identifying the lesion from the OBGYN practitioner while the biopsy is sent and pending result. 

Similar to intraprofessional collaboration, interprofessional collaboration is when two or more different professions work together to achieve a common goal and/or solve complex issues (Green & Johnson, 2015).  In an ambulatory center, it is essential that the medical director, nursing director, and even office manager collaborate to fill in any gaps that the center faces.  Learning, sharing data, and disseminating knowledge to one another professional to address issues and improve patient care and health care delivery is one of the core teamwork values in this facility. 

According to Green & Johnson (2015), the benefit of professional collaboration is reducing risk and cost while forming strategic innovation learning and interventions; in healthcare, intraprofessional and interprofessional collaboration promotes a safe and healthy environment, decreases medical error, and decreases mortality, and increase healthcare staff satisfaction.  Challenges with professional collaboration include cultural differences, authority, and communication that may cause conflict and barriers to interprofessional and intraprofessional collaboration (Green & Johnson, 2015).  For example, the ambulatory procedure center notices the increase of unsigned informed consent forms.  The medical director and nursing director assess and collect data from the surgeons and nurses present for informed consent.  The professionals share information and generate solutions such as a “checklist” for the surgeon, patient, and nurses to sign to ensure each step is checked without shortcuts.  The ambulatory procedure center noticed a significant decrease in unsigned informed consent. 

Henry et al. (2018) found their case study on student who underwent teaching and learning about interprofessional collaboration developed collaborative competencies to learn and share information to generate strategies to solve complex problems to improve health outcomes. It is essential to recognize the importance of intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration and build collaborating skills to maximize patient health.   


Green, B. & Johnson, C. (2015). Interprofessional collaboration in research, education, and clinical practice: working together for a better future. Journal of Chiropractic Education, 29(1), 1-10.

Henry, B., Male, B., Garner, C., & Guernon, A. (2018). Teaching and learning about interprofessional collaboration through student-designed case study and analysis. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(3), 560-570.

Meijer, L., de Groot, E., Blaauw-Westerlaken, M., & Damoiseaux, R. (2016). Intraprofessional    collaboration and learning between specialist and general practitioners during postgraduate training: a qualitative study. BMC Health Services Research, 16, 376.