Fostering an Interprofessional Learning Community of Scholars: A Model for Contemporary Faculty and System Partners Development
Simply bringing faculty together from various health care disciplines does not necessarily result in beneficial interprofessional education (IPE). It has been suggested that faculty development approaches that foster a sense of connectedness not only mitigates burnout, but creates critical space for sharing ideas, learning, socialization, and a sense of belonging. Learning communities also provide opportunities for teaching, service, and scholarship. There continue to be challenges in cultivating high performing interprofessional teams across disciplines in a large public institution. The aim of this study is to present a model learning community that serves as an incubator for effective IPE and high performing scholarship.
A task force was initially created with representatives from university-wide health science departments including physical therapy, social work, pharmacy, medicine, public health, dentistry, kinesiology, and nursing. The charge was to create a large-scale introductory IPE experience. The task force evolved into a learning community that meets monthly to guide core IPE curriculum, scholarship, and foster innovation. Through ongoing collaboration, a high-functioning faculty team has emerged with a strong sense of team belonging.
This retrospective review examined factors leading to the evolution of a learning community that has been productive, encouraging, and modeled IPE core principles. Team development and functioning are examined through individual responses to a narrative five-question survey. Responses were examined through the lens of Tuckman’s stages of group development, Druskat and Wolff’s description of emotional intelligence for team effectiveness (2001), and Frank’s description of behaviors central to team’s developing a sense of community and which are high performing (2001). Learning community outcomes were also reviewed.
The learning community consisted of 12 members (faculty, staff, students) representing 8 health science departments, with membership of 7 years. Survey responses indicated that trust, cooperation, and a sense of belonging were central for a high degree of productivity, faculty development and retention. It is also theorized that member’s sense of belonging led to inspiration of other IPE efforts.
Themes identified by the IPE Learning Community inform effective faculty team building and advance faculty development and retention.
Being more intentional in forming and sustaining high-functioning teams of support for IPE innovation, faculty development, and a sense of belonging.
Summit Themes: Interprofessional Learning for Collaborative Practice and Education: Faculty development and retention