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Interprofessional Competency for Optimal Health Care

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Merriam-Webster Online (n.d.) defines holistic as “relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.” Optimal client care is achieved when health care is delivered holistically, or by a complete system rather than dissected parts. To accomplish this goal, nurses must become competent in interprofessional practice and collaboration, as nurses “make up a large component of the healthcare sector and are an integral part of the interprofessional healthcare team” (MacDonald et al., 2010, p. 238). One key interprofessional competency is the knowledge of the professional role of others. Nurses’ knowledge of the professional role of others serves to create a holistic and optimal healthcare environment in several ways (MacDonald et al., 2010).

Knowledge of the professional role of others helps nurses to identify “where the scope of one’s own professional practice ends and another begins” (MacDonald et al., 2010, p. 239). Knowing the scope of practice of other healthcare professionals helps to ensure that the most qualified professional is assigned to each task and assists with spreading the workload in an efficient manner. Secondly, nurses who know the professional role of others are more likely to seek out the contributions and professional advice that these individuals offer. This interprofessional collaboration provides a greater knowledge base, as well as new perspectives that result in novel solutions to problems. Thirdly, knowing the scope of others’ practice minimizes many misconceptions and stereotypes among the members of healthcare teams. Minimizing stereotypes helps to address the destructive aspects of hospital hierarchy and, fourthly, stimulates an attitude of respect for all roles and areas of expertise. Finally, this competency identifies common professional skills that overlap the roles and expertise of other team members. These commonalities support the efforts of the team and promote consistent care that meets clients’ needs (MacDonald et al., 2010).

In conclusion, health care is optimal when it is delivered by a complete system rather than dissected parts. Holistic care can only be achieved when healthcare professionals become competent in interprofessional practice and collaboration. Nurses are key to this success, as they “are an integral part of the interprofessional healthcare team” (MacDonald et al., 2010, p. 238). Ultimately, knowledge of the professional role of others is an important competency because it helps to utilize the skills of all team members and provides the most comprehensive, effective client care (MacDonald et al., 2010).

Holistic [Def. 2]. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster Online, Retrieved October 15, 2013, from

MacDonald, M., Bally, J., Ferguson, L., Murray, B., Fowler-Kerry, S., & Anonson, J. (2010). Knowledge of the professional role of others: a key interprofessional competency. Nurse Education In Practice, 10(4), 238-242. doi:10.1016/j.nepr.2009.11.012

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