Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Background

A work environment is healthy for nurses when it maximizes their health and well-being, as well as quality patients/clients outcomes and the organization’s performance. Effective interprofessional teamwork is part of a healthy work environment.

The Government of Canada, seeking to improve health care, assembled a working group of the provincial and territorial first ministers in 2012. This group was asked to integrate best practices for three priority areas: clinical practice guidelines, team-based health-care delivery models and health human resource management initiatives. Their report, From Innovation to Action (First Ministers’ Health Care Innovation Working Group, 2013) highlighted the importance of team-based care delivery, using competencies developed collaboratively by health professionals.

Interprofessional care – comprehensive health services provided by multiple caregivers working collaboratively - is important in all health-care settings to enhance health outcomes and patients/clients experiences, reduce costs and improve the work environment for all providers (First Ministers’ Health Care Innovation Working Group, 2013).

Interprofessional care is not restricted to hospitals. It can be delivered in a variety of settings, sometimes, thanks to technological advances, by team members in multiple locations, which may be across town or hundreds of kilometers apart. Interprofessional teams work with patients/clients as they move across health-care sectors, whether that’s from long term care to acute care, or in the community or at home. That’s why good communication is a core competency of interprofessional teams. Patients/clients and their families’ support networks are also integral to the interprofessional care team. The focus of this best practice guideline is to help you develop your role on your interprofessional team.