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“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

-Henry Ford


  • Review the evolution of healthcare simulation as a platform for interprofessional education.

  • Discuss the benefits and challenges of using simulation for interprofessional education.

  • Explore recommendations for the implementation of simulation-enhanced interprofessional education within an organization.

  • Provide a framework to achieve successful simulation-enhanced interprofessional education.

With its experiential and boundless features, healthcare simulation is naturally evolving as a platform for interprofessional education (IPE). The need for IPE becomes increasingly evident in patient safety and is recognized by professional, accrediting, and certifying bodies (Aspden, Wolcott, Bootman, & Cronenwett, 2007; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education [CCNE], 2018; Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2007, 2011; Interprofessional Education and Healthcare Simulation Collaborative [IPEHCS-C], 2012; National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation [NLN CNEA], 2016; NLN, 2015. (See Figure 9.1.)


The overlapping combined science of the fields of interprofessional education and healthcare simulation.

Many challenges in the healthcare system support the need for IPE. Over time, separate specialties and professions have been created to focus on specific aspects of patient health and care. As a result, no single profession today can adequately meet all the complex needs of patients. To keep patients safe, healthcare professionals must work together as a team; however, medical error rates, root cause analyses, and patient outcome research reveal that breaches in quality healthcare often result from poor communication within healthcare professional teams (The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations [JCAHO], 2005; Parker, Forsythe, & Kohlmorgan, 2018). In assessing situations involving compromised patient care, it has become evident that without effective IPE, professionals have difficulty working together as a team (Fox et al., 2017; Hean, Craddock, & Hammick, 2012).

Teamwork failures stem from a variety of systemic gaps in healthcare processes as well as fundamental human factors. Many systemic gaps have also been revealed in the education of healthcare professionals (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, & Day, 2010). One is that students are typically educated in a silo track. After they graduate and go to work in a healthcare setting, they are expected to know how to work with colleagues from other disciplines. Interprofessional practice (IPP) opportunities are not guaranteed in pre-licensure (students) curricula or post-licensure (practicing providers) continuing education. Even when interprofessional conflict does occur, rather than allowing the student or junior clinician to work through the situation and gain the skills needed for effective collaboration, preceptors or experienced clinicians often step in. Another limitation to IPE is that educators tend to teach the way they were taught. They are often hesitant to try other methods, even if they are more effective (Bradshaw & Lowenstein, 2007). This is problematic. Most clinicians learned ...

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