Barriers to Implementation of Interprofessional Education

by Richard Dalby

Interprofessional education
Consistent with our strategic mission
Places nurse, doc and pharmacist
Into a classroom to co-exist

With lawyers and a social worker
The judicial view and front-line worker
All for one and one for all
So we don’t drop the patient ball

Sensitive to each others’ concern
Sharing data for which we all yearn
Treating the person, not just their disease
Seeing healthy wood through parochial trees

Could three dollars spent on a simple intervention
Save a tooth, a child, or Mom’s apprehension?
Who is the optimal caregiver for this task?
Do silos and fear make this too dangerous to ask?

The barriers are high and sharp
Negatives on which the faculty harp
“Too much time,” “Not my discipline”
“Your stuff out, and my stuff in!”

“My class is at three and yours is at four”
“My class is too full – I’m locking the door”
“My answer is right – there’s no room for discussions”
“If she shows them her way, there’ll be hideous repercussions”

Then the Deans get involved,
’cos there’s money at stake
Who gets the tuition?
Who grants the permission?

Which school gets its way?
Which school must obey?
How much will that cost?
…and, of course, I’m the boss!”

Who pays for the mixing of dentist with nurse?
Is IPE worthwhile or an administrative curse?
The concept is good, we can probably agree
But can it be implemented? There’s no guarantee

We need money, of course, from within or without
And data to show that our students make out}
We need a champion or two to stick their necks out
And buy-in from deans – ’cos change takes clout

We need impact on patients and the state’s bottom line
Can we solve a real problem, or do we simply whine?
If our teaching is better and health is improved
The legislature should be in a generous mood

If students admitted to UMB
Are visibly working at the top of the tree
Can NIH resist a multidisciplinary proposal
For a training grant whose goals are global?

IPE will not be easy
The very thought makes the task force queasy
But with a bit of give and take
Perhaps a difference we can make?


Richard Dalby, PhD, is associate dean of academic affairs and professor of pharmaceutical sciences
in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School of Pharmacy.

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