A Review from Medical Science Educator from Dr. John Szarek

Each month the IAMSE Publications Committee reviews published articles from Medical Science Educator. This month’s review, written by Dr. John L. Szarek, is taken from the article titled A Delphi Study to Determine Leveling of the Interprofessional Core
Competencies for Four Levels of Interprofessional Practice
 (doi:10.1007/s40670-018-00656-3) published in Medical Science Educator, Volume 29, (pages 389–398), 2019 by M.L. Koehn and S.C. Charles.

The accreditors of virtually all health professions schools have standards for interprofessional education (IPE) emphasizing the importance of IPE to health care delivery. Moreover, a growing body of evidence indicates that IPE has beneficial effects on learners’ attitudes, knowledge, skills, and collaborative competencies. Notwithstanding, health professions educators still struggle with the implementation of IPE into a packed curriculum. In 2011 (updated in 2016), the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) defined 38 (39 in the update) Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. In the June 2019 issue of Medical Science Educator, Mary Koehn and Stephen Charles used a modified Delphi technique to gain a consensus on the leveling of the IPEC Core Competencies.

The Delphi method, which is widely used for consensus building, uses a questionnaire with multiple iterations sent to a panel of experts to develop a consensus of opinion. The authors recruited an expert panel from The Society for Simulation in Healthcare IPE Special Interest Group. The questionnaire consisted of the 38 IPEC Core Competencies which the panel members were asked to indicate the level of the learner for which each of the competencies was most appropriate (level 1-novice to level 4-experienced practitioner). The same questionnaire was used for each of the three rounds of the
Delphi. For the 2nd and 3rd rounds, the panel members were given the frequency distributions of the prior round for competencies not achieving consensus. After 3 rounds, a consensus was achieved on all but 4 of the competencies. The authors speculated that consensus on these 4 competencies was not reached due to the wording of the competencies, which is deliberately broad such that all competencies could be implemented in a novice to expert range, or the decreased response rate from the panel in round 3. The authors conclude that it is possible to level the competencies from novice to expert and that this guideline can be used in the implementation of the competencies.

Many of us involved in IPE are responsible for developing activities, managing logistics, etc. Besides aligning schedules, an issue all IPE educators contend with is that learners from different professions have varying levels of knowledge and experience. Further, it is somewhat overwhelming when one considers assuring that all students achieve 38 competencies in an already packed curriculum. This document will help us in aligning learners at the appropriate level for our IPE activities and provide a roadmap to aid in the deliberate design of IPE learning activities spanning the length of the program. Educators new to IPE will find this document helpful as they begin working with educators from other health professions in planning IPE activities. More expert educators will be able to use this to strengthen what they are already doing and consider building on this work for scholarship.

John L. Szarek, BPharm, PhD, CHSE
Professor and Director of Clinical Pharmacology
Education Director for Simulation
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Member IAMSE Publications Committee