opinions could in fact be one of the main barriers to an interprofessional programme of work being implemented successfully.Resultantly, this study was designed to explore what IPE qualified staff had themselves experienced, and how this linked to their own conceptualizations of professional identity (if at all), in order to consider the impact of these experiences and their opinions of them on IPE programmes they were subsequently involved in facilitating.It is proposed that the findings have implications for the way in which IPE is currently taught, and that adoption of the proposed concept of ‘interprofessional responsibility’ may help address some of the concerns these findings raise.
All the practicing (NHS) participants and a third of the academic staff were recruited in this way.
Due to low completion rate of the survey sent to academic staff (and subsequently not having enough potential interviewees) it was necessary to recruit further interviewees by email.
Indeed, it has long been recognised that H&SC professionals must now work in an interprofessional way while maintaining their own discrete professional identity (Pirrie et al. Professional identity within health and social care professions is generally understood to develop at least in part through socialisation, a process explored in various ethnographic studies of different professions since the 1960s, many of which were influenced by Becker et al.’s (’.
Socialisation into a profession is a complex process, involving the impact of exposure to professional behaviour and interaction in the real world.
The overarching aim of the study was to understand how qualified H&SC professionals perceive their own professional identities and how this relates to what they consider their professional roles and boundaries.
Data in this paper is drawn from a series of semi-structured interviews undertaken in England exploring the relationship between perspectives of H&SC staff on professional identity and experiences of IPE and collaborative practice, undertaken as part of a Ph D study.It is acknowledged here that this will be at least in part a symptom of the organisational frameworks under which H&SC operates; and that it is necessary both for the functioning of an intricate health care system, as well as politically, to group professionals under over-arching professional labels.Nevertheless there remains a paucity of evidence to suggest such groups exist as a single, cohesive community of practice that a shared professional identity label might imply.Senior professionals claimed to be more comfortable with their own professional identity, and with working across professional boundaries, than junior colleagues.Academic staff also identified that much IPE currently taught in universities serves the purpose of box-ticking rather than being delivered in meaningful way.For any impact to be achieved, both academic and practicing staff needed to be ‘on message’ as regards IPE and collaborative practice.Subsequently the study was designed to collect and look at the opinions of staff as defined by what they saw as their primary role (either as a practicing professional or an academic).Professional identities have sometimes been depicted as a barrier to interprofessional education and working (Elston and Holloway ) with the suggestion that the struggle by each H&SC profession to define its own ‘sphere of practice and role in patient care’ is a major factor in determining the way in which the professions have developed in ‘silos’ (Hall , p. This has subsequently informed the way different professions have typically interacted.Emphasizing the multifaceted and intricate nature of the relationship between IPE and identities, Hean and Dickinson () in order for IPE to change attitudes towards other professions successfully.The decision to define staff in these two groups was again based upon the experience of working in a large-scale interprofessional programme.For IPE to have a lasting impact, it was apparent from an early stage that it was necessary for classroom-based initiatives to be backed up by placement learning experiences, and vice versa.