Interprofessional education in maternity care: Shared learning for women-centred care

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There is a general agreement that the potential of shared learning is great in terms of interprofessional working and client care. Despite the fact that interprofessional education has been a key area of professional education and practice policies for the last decade there is a dearth of evidence of its successful implementation in maternity care. Doctors and midwives are often educated in separate faculties within universities and rarely given the opportunity for shared learning activities, particularly at postgraduate level. Barriers to implementing interprofessional learning are identified within the literature and these include a difference in perception of the status each profession holds and different ways of working and learning which impedes the development of interprofessional relationships. It is argued that through interprofessional education, doctors and midwives should be enabled to develop skills of collaborative working, thus making referrals between professionals more effective. The exploration of the differences of professional cultures in a shared learning environment will enable professionals to formulate agreement on best practice in the clinical areas, based on current best evidence. Thus, interprofessional education aims to dispel the stereotypes and prejudice which often act as a barrier to effective collaborative working. The implications of interprofessional education on three main areas of practice are explored using a review of the literature: professional roles; conflict and collaboration between professions; and the sharing of knowledge and skills. Recommendations are made for the development of post‐registration shared learning that address these key areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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