McMaster University

McMaster University

Funding Within PIPER — Project 1

Project 1 — Enhancing Collaborative Decision-Making and Team Reflection in Health Professional Students

Principal Investigator

Patty Solomon

Co Investigators

Sue Baptiste, Pam Baxter, Bobbi Biggs, Denise Marshall, David Musson, Alan Neville, Cathy Risdon, Dyanne Semogas


There are two major inter-related goals in this project:

  1. To design, implement and evaluate experiential learning modules which develop collaborative decision-making and team reflection in pre-licensure health professionals
  2. To develop academic and clinical faculty competencies in role modeling and facilitation of interprofessional collaborative decision-making skills and team reflection


  • Develop and pilot innovative resources and processes that will enable students to develop skills in interprofessional communication, decision-making and team reflection
  • Provide learning resources that will span the continuum of care
  • Build on existing resources and initiatives within the Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Provide a "bank" of sustainable resource materials and clinical supports
  • Enable students to gain collaborative decision-making competencies which progress from simple to more complex, using simulated scenarios initially, then to "actual" decision-making in the clinical environment
  • Explore the use of medium and high fidelity simulation as a resource for IPE at the pre-licensure level
  • Build faculty and community expertise in facilitation of collaborative decision-making and team reflection in the practice environment


  • There are five major components within this project. Four are geared towards health science students and one initiative focuses on faculty development.
  • The four student components are:
    • Communication Skills Lab — This event provides students with the opportunity to participate in an interactive team experience. Through the use of standardized patients, students develop collaborative team skills and communication techniques, while working through a patient scenario. Faculty who have expertise in communication skills observe the interprofessional student teams as they interact with each other and the standardized patients, and provide feedback to the team.
    • Patients as Educators — This aspect offers student the opportunity to meet with a patient who has been trained to "tell their story" in a way to facilitate students learning interprofessional knowledge and skills. Each session involves a small group of interprofessional students meeting with the "patient as educator" and a faculty co-facilitator. A debriefing session follows immediately afterwards.
    • Practice Site Placements — There are five clinical sites involved in this component. These sites include: 1) a family health team for the Six Nations aboriginal community; 2) a community and home-based rehabilitation agency; 3) a large regional academic health sciences centre; 4) a hospital-based complex and long-term care centre; and 5) a health service for those who are homeless and marginally housed and who have complex health and social needs. Each site is developing its own approach to providing interprofessional learning experiences for students while they are at the site for a clinical placement. Activities vary in terms of complexity and length such as facilitated case review, structured shadowing, and participation in a simulated family meeting.
    • Simulation Lab — This activity involves the creation of a series of videotaped sessions of simulated crisis management for use in small group interprofessional educational session. Group observation of these recordings would be used to trigger discussion and understanding of issues related to the multi-professional team management of healthcare emergencies. Each crisis scenario will have specific elements designed to illustrate key aspects of professional roles, task delegation, interdisciplinary and interprofessional communication, and teamwork.
    • These experiences for students are in various stages of implementation and all will have completed piloting by mid-2009.
  • Faculty Development Initiative - This involves the creation of scenarios and videos for use in workshops with faculty members through the Program of Faculty Development. These resources are geared towards enhancing their abilities to recognize and facilitate opportunities for their students to learn interprofessional skills. Five videos have been created so far. Workshops with faculty, focusing on the essentials of IPE have occurred earlier in 2008 and more are planned for the fall.
  • As these student and faculty activities are being developed to illustrate and facilitate the use of core IPE competencies, we are conducting evaluations through quantitative and qualitative feedback from participants


  • We gratefully acknowledge the project grant received through Interprofessional Health Innovation Fund (IHEIF) from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
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