Barriers of interprofessional working

Written by mark fitzpatrick
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Barriers of interprofessional working
A doctor may have to work beyond typical health approaches to work with a patient. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Interprofessional working is a concept mostly in the health sciences. Interprofessional working is a way for health professionals to use different professional approaches. In other words, a health professional is in constant communication with a wide array of professionals in non-health fields. The benefit of this strategy is to improve patient relations and to discover new ways of treating patients. However, there are some limitations to this approach.

Pedagogical Differences

Pedagogical differences are a barrier to interprofessional working. A pedagogy is the specific way an academic discipline is taught. Psychology is unique through its own methodology, language, and approaches than general medical research. Through interprofessional working, a doctor may consult with a psychologist. However, a doctor and a psychologist might have different ideas on how to best treat a patient due to methodological differences.

Unrealistic Expectations

One aspect to interprofessional working is to help other professionals learn medical treatment basics. In rural areas, doctors often train their nurses to perform extra duties. However, a doctor is a trained professional with unique expertise in medicine and physiology. A nurse lacks the medical expertise doctors have and unrealistic expectations may be placed on the nurse in day-to-day activities.

Disagreement on Core Principles

In theory, what makes cross-discipline professionals work together is joining the core values both disciplines share to craft a response to medical issues. However, there may be a disagreement of what is the exact concern. For example, the field of epidemiology is more concerned with the factors that cause disease, some of which may be social, such as lacking investment in vaccines. However, a health professional might be more focused on research that cures a disease, not on protective factors.

Spreading Out Resources

An aspect of interporfessional work is pluralism. Even with all the benefits of pluralism, an initial downside is the lack of professional focus. For example, a doctor needed for long hours might not have the energy or resources to devote to endeavours such as public health advocacy. Advocating for public health, better health care, or fairer economic conditions are fine and noble endeavours but can eat up time and resources from professionals.

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