Skip to main content
Log in

A Delphi Study to Determine Leveling of the Interprofessional Core Competencies for Four Levels of Interprofessional Practice

  • Original Research
  • Published:
Medical Science Educator Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Although the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Education (IPE) provide guidance in developing interprofessional learning experiences, the literature is sparse in how to incorporate them across varying levels of learning activities. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore consensus for leveling the IPEC Core Competencies for use across four levels of interprofessional practice. Initially, Benner’s novice to expert theory was used to develop a leveling document for planning educational experiences appropriate for pre-licensure through practice learners. Using this document, a Delphi study was conducted to gain consensus on leveling the Core Competencies.


A modified Delphi technique was employed using an expert panel of 48 healthcare faculty experienced in interprofessional education. Participants were asked to select their opinion of the level of learner for which each of the competencies were most appropriate.


After three rounds of questionnaires, 34 of the 38 competencies achieved consensus at a 70% agreement. Four competencies did not reach consensus.


Using a developmental approach, this study provides a foundational point for establishing guidelines for progressive organization and consistency in interprofessional learning activities. Although four competencies did not reach consensus, the results suggest that leveling is possible. Ongoing research is needed to further validate or revise the findings from this study.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel. Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: report of an expert panel. Washington, D.C.2011.

  2. Kamen C, Veilleux JC, Bangen KJ, VanderVeen JW, Klonoff EA. Climbing the stairway to competency: trainee perspectives on competency development. Train Educ Prof Psychol. 2010;4(4):227–34.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Eskes AM, Maaskant JM, Holloway S, Dijk N, Alves P, Legemate DA, et al. Competencies of specialised wound care nurses: a European Delphi study. Int Wound J. 2014;11(6):665–74 10p.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Kang J, Kim Y, Yoo YS, Choi JY, Koh SJ, Jho HJ, et al. Developing competencies for multidisciplinary hospice and palliative care professionals in Korea. Support Care Cancer. 2013;21(10):2707–17 11p.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Buys T. Professional competencies in vocational rehabilitation: results of a Delphi study. SAJOT. 2015;45(3):48–54 7p.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Kozmenko V, Bye EJ, Simanton E, Lindemann J, Schellpfeffer SE. The optimal time to institute interprofessional education in the medical school curriculum. Med Sci Educ. 2017;27(2):259–66.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Lairamore C, Morris D, Schichtl R, George-Paschal L, Martens H, Maragakis A, et al. Impact of team composition on student perceptions of interprofessional teamwork: a 6-year cohort study. J Interprof Care. 2018;32(2):143–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Fouad NA, Grus CL, Hatcher RL, Kaslow NJ, Hutchings PS, Madson MB, et al. Competency benchmarks: a model for understanding and measuring competence in professional psychology across training levels. Train Educ Prof Psychol. 2009;3(4, Suppl):S5–S26.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Barton AJ, Armstrong G, Preheim G, Gelman SB, Andrus LC. A national Delphi to determine developmental progression of quality and safety competencies in nursing education. Nurs Outlook. 2009;57:313–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Wood V, Flavell A, Vanstolk D, Bainbridge L, Nasmith L. The road to collaboration: developing an interprofessional competency framework. J Interprof Care. 2009;23(6):621–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Salari S, Klapman S, Fry B, Hamel S. Interprofessional education: in silo, ineffective. Med Sci Educ. 2017;27(4):831–3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Kolb DA. Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall; 1984.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Holton E, Knowles M, Swanson R. The adult learner: the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. 6th ed. Boston: Elsevier; 2005.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Benner P. From novice to expert: excellence and power in clinical nursing practice. Menlo Park CA: Addison-Wesley; 1984.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  15. Staggers N, Gassert CA, Curran C. A Delphi study to determine informatics competencies for nurses at four levels of practice. Nurs Res. 2002;51(6):383–90 8p.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Busenhart CA. “Leveling core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice” for learners. Lawrence: University of Kansas; 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Avella JR. Delphi panels: research design, procedures, advantages, and challenges. IJDS. 2016;11(1):305–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hsu C-C, Sandford BA. The Delphi technique: making sense of consensus. Pract Assess Res Eval. 2007;12(10):1–8.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Custer RL, Scarcella JA, Stewart B. The modified Delphi technique—a rotational modification. J Vocat Tech Educ . 1999;15(2).

  20. Finkelman A, Kenner C. Teaching IOM: implications of the Institute of Medicine reports for nursing education. Silver Spring, MD:; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Interprofessional Education Collaborative, editor. Team-based competencies: building a shared foundation for education and clincial practice. Interprofessional Education Collaborative; 2011 February 16–17; Washington, DC.

  22. Qualtrics. Qualtrics. 2016 ed. Provo, Utah 2016.

  23. Rivera R Jr. Assessing community reintegration in adolescents and young adults with spinal cord injury: a Delphi study. Denton: Texas Woman’s University; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Wynaden D, Heslop K, Omari OA, Nelson D, Osmond B, Taylor M, et al. Identifying mental health nursing research priorities: a Delphi study. Contemp Nurse. 2014;47(1–2):16–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Interprofessional Education Collaborative. Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: 2016 update. Washington, DC: Interprofessional Education Collaborative 2016.

Download references


We wish to acknowledge and thank those interprofessional education experts who agreed to participate in this study. We also wish to acknowledge the contributing work of our colleagues who are co-members of HealthSim United, a non-profit organization formed to facilitate simulation that is “always interprofessional” and “always has family presence.”

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mary L. Koehn.

Ethics declarations

The institutional review boards of the authors’ associated universities approved the study. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Koehn, M.L., Charles, S.C. A Delphi Study to Determine Leveling of the Interprofessional Core Competencies for Four Levels of Interprofessional Practice. Med.Sci.Educ. 29, 389–398 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: