The majority of practitioners who work in healthcare are trained to function both independently and autonomously (Soothill et al 1995). There can be many challenges when working as part of a team, Soothill et al (1995) acknowledges this by stating, “learning to work with many different types of professionals in a multidisciplinary team can be extremely difficult” (pg 5). However, before going further, it is first of all important to define, what is meant by inter-professional working (or multidisciplinary teams)? Barrett et al (2005) states that inter-professional working requires that individuals from different professions and agencies to work together. However within the context of health care, the service user is the patient. Hoffman et al (2007) describes inter-professional care as being “a patient-centred, team-based approach to health and social care and it is through this synergy that the strength and skills of each contributing health and social worker is maximised, thus increasing the quality of patient/service user care” (pg 2). Research, as identified by Hoffman et al (2007) supports the idea of inter-professional collaboration by stating that “it lowers patient mortality, improves patient safety, improves health services, reduces hospitalisation and associated costs, enhances patient satisfaction, improves levels of innovation in patient care, increases staff motivation, well-being and retention” (pg2).
However, as highlighted before, effective inter-professional working can be difficult to achieve. Barriers such as lack of recognition or respect for another professionals’ occupation, poor knowledge within own occupation, fear and even lack of trust of the perspectives of other occupational groups can hinder inter-professional working (Soothill et al 1995). In the Working Together:
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