3.1 Roles and Responsibilities of Health Care Professionals

IPEC Competency 1: Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice

The coordination and delivery of safe, quality patient care demands reliable teamwork and collaboration across the organizational and community boundaries. Clients often have multiple visits across multiple providers working in different organizations. Communication failures between health care settings, departments, and team members is the leading cause of patient harm (Rosen et al., 2018). The health care system is becoming increasingly complex requiring collaboration among diverse health care team members.

The goal of good interprofessional collaboration is improved patient outcomes, as well as increased job satisfaction of health care team professionals. Patients receiving care with poor teamwork are almost five times as likely to experience complications or death. Hospitals in which staff report higher levels of teamwork have lower rates of workplace injuries and illness, fewer incidents of workplace harassment and violence, and lower turnover (Rosen et al., 2018).

Valuing and understanding the roles of team members are important steps toward establishing good interprofessional teamwork. Another step is learning how to effectively communicate with interprofessional team members.

IPEC Competency 2: Roles/Responsibilities

The second IPEC competency relates to the roles and responsibilities of health care professionals and states, “Use the knowledge of one’s own role and those of other professions to appropriately assess and address the health care needs of patients and to promote and advance the health of populations” (Interprofessional Education Collaborative, n.d.).

See the following box for the components of this competency. It is important to understand the roles and responsibilities of the other health care team members; recognize one’s limitations in skills, knowledge, and abilities; and ask for assistance when needed to provide quality, patient-centered care.

Components of IPEC’s Roles/Responsibilities Competency (Interprofessional Education Collaborative, 2022.)

  • Communicate one’s roles and responsibilities clearly to patients, families, community members, and other professionals.
  • Recognize one’s limitations in skills, knowledge, and abilities.
  • Engage with diverse professionals who complement one’s own professional expertise, as well as associated resources, to develop strategies to meet specific health and health care needs of patients and populations.
  • Explain the roles and responsibilities of other providers and the manner in which the team works together to provide care, promote health, and prevent disease.
  • Use the full scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities of professionals from health and other fields to provide care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable.
  • Communicate with team members to clarify each member’s responsibility in executing components of a treatment plan or public health intervention.
  • Forge interdependent relationships with other professions within and outside of the health system to improve care and advance learning.
  • Engage in continuous professional and interprofessional development to enhance team performance and collaboration.
  • Use unique and complementary abilities of all members of the team to optimize health and patient care.
  • Describe how professionals in health and other fields can collaborate and integrate clinical care and public health interventions to optimize population health.

Nurses communicate with several individuals during their work. For example, during inpatient care, nurses may communicate with patients and their family members; pharmacists and pharmacy technicians; providers from different specialties; physical, speech, and occupational therapists; dietary aides; respiratory therapists; chaplains; social workers; case managers; nursing supervisors, charge nurses, and other staff nurses; assistive personnel; nursing students; nursing instructors; security guards; laboratory personnel; radiology and ultrasound technicians; and surgical team members. Providing holistic, quality, safe, and effective care means every team member taking care of patients must work collaboratively and understand the knowledge, skills, and scope of practice of the other team members. Table 3.4 provides examples of the roles and responsibilities of common health care team members that nurses frequently work with when providing patient care. To fully understand the roles and responsibilities of the multiple members of the complex health care delivery system, it is beneficial to spend time shadowing those within these roles.

Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of individual health care team members by completing the activity below.

Next: 3.2 Interprofessional Communication


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Leading Change in Health Systems: Strategies for RN-BSN Students Copyright © 2023 by Kathy Andresen DNP, MPH, RN, CNE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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