During my first year studying at Glasgow Caledonian University I undertook a module called Foundations for Interprofessional Practice. Interprofessional Education is when students from different health and social care professions come together in order to learn from one another and to learn how to work together effectively as told by WHO (2010). According to Education Management Solutions (2018), interprofessional working not only improves patient satisfaction and decreases healthcare costs for the NHS by reducing readmission of patients but also reduces errors which in turn better patient outcomes. Failures in interprofessional working have been highly acknowledged within the NHS, an example includes baby P, (Andrew Anthony, 2009), however cases of this nature have lead efforts to improve interprofessional working within health and social care and one way to do so is to provide IPE to students who may enter professions involved and to provide a better understanding of Interprofessional practices. I will further analyse the major benefits IPE by reflecting on my experiences when preparing and presenting my group’s summative poster.To reflect on my experience, I will be using Gibbs’ (1988, cited in Jasper 2003) Reflective Cycle and Harvard referencing. Gibbs’ cycle explores six stages of reflection, these include; description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action-plan. This gives those reflecting a guide to follow and gives their reflection structure. The NMC (2018) states that Nurses and Midwives must use reflection to enhance their practice which would help provide person-centred care that service-users require. The task delegated to my group was to create a poster to justify the importance of interprofessional working in health and social care and discuss factors which may create obstacles or aid us in accomplishing effective IPW in future practice. My group consisted of myself (Adult nurse) and 5 other students: a child nurse, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, an oral health scientist and a radiographer. We chose to meet up after every tutorial class to ensure everyone was clear on their roles and what they were to produce for following week. It was evident after the first time we met up as a collective group that our knowledge on the topic was lacking in terms of facts and definitions. So, to tackle this we decided that we would need a clearer understanding before we began creating our summative poster, we each went away and researched not only interprofessional working but how it works in practice and how to do it well over the upcoming weeks. Personally, I found this not only was very effective but very interesting. I began to realise we were already using a few of the skills that is required for effective Interprofessional working such as practical communication and great decision making which I found to be a positive sign. When the facilitator of the tutorial began to appoint people to groups I grew more and more anxious as I didn’t really know what to expect, coming straight from 5th year I found this particularly difficult however I was adamant not to let that interfere with my progression in the module. I find I am a naturally nervous person in situations that I am not familiar with, which I feel many people can relate to, and this includes forming a group with 5 other students I had never met before. All members of the group came across shy at first, myself included, but we all began to open up as we got to know more about one another. Although I began to feel comfortable with my group I still felt quite apprehensive about working with them to produce the summative poster as each individuals work ethic was not clear to me, I believe most of this apprehension came from an experience I had carried with me from a group I was part of in the past and not everyone put in equal effort. From the very outset it was clear that our group would work well together, there were no clashes or arguments, and everyone was very good at effectively portraying their ideas and listening to each other’s which I felt was a relief. When we first got told about the assessment I was hesitant as I like to plan ahead and make sure that everything is done to a sufficient standard, however I knew as I was working in a group I would not have that type of control over the situation which for me took a bit of getting used to. I personally do not have the confidence to take on the leader role in a group situation at this stage, but my group never really delegated that role to anyone, we all just discussed each other’s ideas and chose which one worked the best for us as a group instead of one person making all the decisions. With hindsight, I do believe this was the right approach for us as a group as it built not only my confidence to discuss my ideas but also after speaking to my group it had the same effect on them too. As we got closer and closer to our presentation date for the summative poster we increased the amount of times we were meeting during each week to ensure our timing and information on poster was all correct and fit within the guidelines we were given. However, some weeks it was more difficult for us to meet due to clashing timetables, but we made sure we made time for the collaborative work just as we will have to on placement and in future practice.Overall, I feel my experience was very positive as I had a good relationship with my group which made working with each other easier. We came across very few issues however when we did we worked around them to ensure we would not compromise our success in the module. I am well-assured that my experience of IPE was a success as not only do I now understand the importance of all professionals in health and social care working together to protect and provide person-centred care to a patient but also how to do so effectively in an appropriate manner. I also feel that I learned a great deal from the other members of my group, we each brought a different skill set and were able expand our own by learning from one another and I believe that some of the skills I gained from working with my group I will use in my future practice not only when working inter-professionally but in general practice too. One skills of mine that I feel I developed to the greatest degree was my confidence, on a personal level but also with the help of my group, I believe this is because as my knowledge of the subject grew greater I became more confident discussing it. One team development model that we looked at in detail during week 3 of the tutorial class was Tuckman (1965). I found this particularly interesting however I do not feel as though my group hit each stage he discusses. He mentions, forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. For example, I do not feel like my group went through the ‘storming’ stage, as I said earlier we had very little problems and didn’t not have any disagreements therefor his stage did not apply to our particular situation. The only issue we had was the timetable clashes, but not once did we argue or end up in conflict with one another. Tuckman (1965) also states that a ‘group leader’ should be elected in order reduce conflict however as I have already stated we did not do so as we found it worked better to have no ‘hierarchy’ like structure and for everyone’s roles to be equal, Hall (2005), which I researched privately also backs up this statement. I believe that every member of the group had an integral part of the success of the group.Day (2013) recognises that for effective interprofessional working to succeed, the professionals involved must be in contact very regularly. I firmly agree with this statement because from my experience although it did sometimes become difficult for my group to meet due to timetabling, some members of the group’s vision of the task did become blurred if they couldn’t make the meeting so they had to be caught up for communication to flow properly. This will also be a fundamental concept to include into future nursing practice to allow all healthcare professionals equal opportunities to discuss opinions or ideas they have. Although my group did come across some minor problems we resolved them efficiently like we plan to in future practice. I believe as my group had such a wide variety of professions involved it did make some aspects of preparing the presentation more difficult however each of the students brought different skills which was useful. I believe that now I have a thorough understanding of interprofessional working in a healthcare setting and how to facilitate it effectively.
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