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  • 5 Ways to Get Up to Speed on Interprofessional Health Care in Education and Practice

    Working across health care disciplines isn't a pipe dream: it's an increasingly important fact of professional life for physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapists assistants (PTAs). And physical therapy education programs are helping future PTs and PTAs respond to this reality by adapting curricula to respond to an increasingly collaborative health care environment.

    In honor of National Interprofessional Health Care month, APTA has refreshed its resources on interprofessional practice and education, offering a range of perspectives on the topic. From research papers to PT in Motion magazine feature articles, there's a little something for everyone.

    Don't know where to start? Here's a basic roadmap for getting yourself familiar with the issue, all drawn from the APTA Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice Resources webpage.

    1. Get an understanding of what interprofessionalism takes.
    APTA and many other professional health care organizations anchor their approach to interprofessional education and practice in the core competencies developed by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC). IPEC developed a document that clearly lays out 4 main competencies and related sub-competencies that are necessary for success.

    2. Find out how you're doing.
    Understanding the skills needed to be effective in interprofessional behaviors isn't the same thing as actually engaging in those behaviors. This assessment instrument from the Interprofessional Professionalism Collaborative can help you get a clearer view of the extent to which you live out interprofessional values in your day-to-day work.

    3. Keep up with the latest developments.
    The National Academies of Practice (NAP) is a leader in the promotion of interprofessional health care and home to the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice. Find out what's happening across disciplines, and visit individual academies member microsites—including 1 for physical therapy.

    4. Dive deeper into physical therapy's role in interprofessional practice.
    The National Interprofessional Education Consortium (NIPEC), sponsored by the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT), is designed as a resource for faculty at ACAPT member institutions; however, NIPEC's website contains plenty of information available to everyone, including assessments, development resources, and webinars—all specifically aimed at how physical therapy integrates with crossdisciplinary collaboration.

    5. Explore how the next generation of PTs and PTAs are being prepared for interprofessionalism.
    Physical therapy education programs are taking creative steps to hone the crossdisciplinary collaboration skills of their students. ThisPT in Motion magazine article describes how PT and PTA students are working with, and benefitting from, students and clinicians from other professions both in the classroom and in their clinical internships.