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Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 1123–1149 | Cite as

Misalignments of purpose and power in an early Canadian interprofessional education initiative

  • Sarah Whyte
  • Elise Paradis
  • Carrie Cartmill
  • Ayelet Kuper
  • Heather Boon
  • Corinne Hart
  • Saleem Razack
  • Mandy Pipher
  • Cynthia R. Whitehead
Article

Abstract

Interprofessional education (IPE) has been widely incorporated into health professional curricula and accreditation standards despite an arguably thin base of evidence regarding its clinical effects, theoretical underpinnings, and social implications. To better understand how and why IPE first took root, but failed to grow, this study examines one of the earliest documented IPE initiatives, which took place at the University of British Columbia between 1960 and 1975. We examined a subset of 110 texts (academic literature, grey literature, and unpublished records) from a larger study that uses Critical Discourse Analysis to trace the emergence of IPE in Canada. We asked how IPE was promoted and received, by whom, for what purposes, and to what effects. Our analysis demonstrates that IPE was promoted as a response to local challenges for the Faculty of Medicine as well as national challenges for Canada’s emerging public healthcare system. These dual exigencies enabled the IPE initiative, but they shaped it in somewhat divergent ways: the former gave rise to its core component (a health sciences centre) and the latter its ultimate purpose (increasing the role of non-medical professions in primary care). Reception of the initiative was complicated by a further tension: nurses and allied health professionals were sometimes represented as independent experts with unique knowledge and skills, and sometimes as assistants or substitutes for medical doctors. We relate the successes and frustrations of this early initiative to particular (mis)alignments of purpose and relationships of power, some of which continue to enable and constrain IPE today.

Keywords

Interprofessional education Healthcare team Health professions Health workforce Critical discourse analysis Historical analysis Rhetorical analysis Canada 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP-126178). We are grateful for the historical insights shared by George Szasz and John Gilbert and for the helpful assistance that we received from the UBC Library.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Whyte
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elise Paradis
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
  • Carrie Cartmill
    • 1
  • Ayelet Kuper
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Heather Boon
    • 3
  • Corinne Hart
    • 6
  • Saleem Razack
    • 7
    • 8
  • Mandy Pipher
    • 9
  • Cynthia R. Whitehead
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.The Wilson CentreUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of English Language and LiteratureUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Leslie Dan Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, MedicineTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Daphne Cockwell School of NursingRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Faculty of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  8. 8.Pediatric Critical Care MedicineMontreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Sciences CentreMontrealCanada
  9. 9.Department of EnglishUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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