Interprofessional Teamwork


Key Points*:

  • Communicate as a colleague, not an underling
  • Be enthusiastic, but genuine
  • Be prepared for your encounters
  • Ensure your colleague understands “What’s in it for me and our patients.”
  • Make recommendations that are evidence-based
  • Be a good listener and use appropriate body language
  • Be responsive and reliable and promise only what can be delivered
  • Be succinct, as everyone’s time is precious
  • Ask if any barriers to moving forward exist
  • Finish the dialogue positively and with discussion of next steps

 *From Tom Smiley, Pharm.D.



  • Provide sustained interprofessional education
  • Support and demonstrate respectful, effective interprofessional teamwork


Recommended Resources: 

Brief Review


Health Care Should Be a Team Sport. Eric Dishman. TED Talks. 15 minutes.

Interprofessional Training in a Simulated Emergency. Interprofessional Education and Practice U of A. 3 minutes.


Ward H et al. Interprofessional Skills Learning Guide: Virtually Narrated Small Group Discussion. College of Medicine, University of Saskatchwan. Free on iTunes Bookstore.


Creating Strong Team Culture. AMA STEPSforward. Free online educational module. 0.5 hour AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Durham M, Lie D, Lohenry K. Interprofessional Care: an Introductory Session on the Roles of Health Professionals. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2014. This is a 2-hour case-based session to train health professional students to be aware of the roles of other health professionals. Materials provided include a faculty development session with training guide, presentation, and video, as well as student and faculty guides for the student session.

GeriTeam. University of California Irvine Health. Free app that teaches the different roles and members of a geriatric health team.

Smith K, Antony R, Koeuth S, Collins L, Frisby A. A Computer Supported Interprofessional Education Initiative: Using Technology to Advance Interprofessionalism. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2013.

King S, Ansell D, Foisy-Doll C, Magus S, Greidanus E, Kowalewska-Grochowska K. Save Stan Simulation Saturday- Planning and Implementing an Interprofessional Simulation Day. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2013. A full day educational event encompassing a series of interprofessional (IP) health team simulations supplemented by additional communication and team educational activities. This event provides students from various health disciplines with an opportunity for collaborative experiential learning in realistic, risk-free health and community care settings. The focus of all Save Stan activities is on IP communication, collaboration and role clarification. Save Stan focuses on three types of activities: 1) main simulations, 2) mini-sims and 3) teamwork and communication activities.


In-Depth Review


InterProfessional Education Collaborative. University of New England. 39+ video lectures available free on iTunes U.

Enhancing Patient Safety Through Inter-Professional Collaborative Learning. Tomorrows Medicine. 16 minutes.

Why Interprofessional Education? Why Now? UVA Medical Center Hour. 56 minutes.


Interprofessional Teamwork for Health and Social Care by Scott Reeves, Simon Lewin, Sherry Espin, Merrick Zwarenstein. ISBN-10: 1405181915. $87.99


TeamSTEPPS® Master Trainer Course. Online. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). TeamSTEPPS® (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) is an evidence-based approach to improve communication and teamwork among health care teams. TeamSTEPPS Master Trainers serve within their institutions to help prepare for, implement, and champion the TeamSTEPPS teamwork approach. Those interested in learning more about TeamSTEPPS are encouraged to register free of charge for TeamSTEPPS online learning. Participants in the group-paced cohort have four months to complete 11 modules, watch three Webinars, and conduct a virtual “teach-back” session. Upon completion of all course activities, participants are certified as TeamSTEPPS Master Trainers. AHRQ’s subject matter experts are available throughout the course to assist participants with questions and challenges regarding implementation of teamwork initiatives in health care. Options to take the entire TeamSTEPPS Master Training curriculum at a self-paced rate or to take individual parts of the TeamSTEPPS curriculum without becoming a Master Trainer also are available.

Collaboration and Communication in Healthcare: Interprofessional Practice. Coursera, University of California, San Francisco.