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Professional Roles and Communication: Why is healthcare provided by a team of different professionals? How do we achieve this? Essay Example

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Professional Roles and Communication

Inter-professional practice refers to the working together of multiple health workers emanating from different professional backgrounds with families, communities, carers and patients to ensure the delivery of the highest quality of healthcare (IECEP, 2011). Inter-professional practice is also referred to as inter-professional collaborative practice. The delivery of the highest quality of care is the principal significance of inter-professional practice.

The inter-professional competency domain is the cluster of several particular inter-professional competencies linked conceptually to play the role of theoretical constructs that are mandatory in the delivery of high quality healthcare. Inter-professional practice also plays a pivotal role in confronting highly complex health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and tuberculosis epidemics, natural disasters, increasing healthcare costs, ageing populations among other health-related challenges. The practice has also eliminated unnecessary competition for funding between health and healthcare projects witnessed in the traditional system besides enabling inter-professional projects to share opportunities, challenges and best practices (Baker, 2010).

The use of inter-professional practice in the delivery of high quality healthcare requires team effort of several professionals in the five main areas of healthcare. The healthcare sections encompass the process entry also known as the entry point or referral guide, the clinical decision maker or leader, the technical expert or consultant, providers of support services, the process coordinator, the resource manager and the information coordinator. A family physician or a general physician that is aware of the illness may stand out as the referral guide to direct the patient or recommend the patient to a well-known healthcare facility that has experienced professionals to deal with the condition (Torrens, 2010). Following the decision of the patient to visit the healthcare facility, clinical decision makers enter the patient care cycle.

A good example is the case of a cancer patient. Upon referral of the patient to the healthcare facility, the surgical oncologist and the medical oncologist can work together in delivering medical care to the patient. The technical expert or consultant also plays a major role in the healthcare process. In the case of the above mentioned cancer patient, some of the technical experts can include radiation therapist, clinical pharmacist, clinical psychologist and genetics counsellor. There are other technical experts for other illnesses that play a central role in delivering limited and specialised aspects associated with the care process. The providers of support services such as occupational and physical therapy, long-term and home nursing care, social support and social work services and laboratory and x-ray services are also important to the care process (Torrens, 2010). Some of the professionals include physical therapists and laboratory technicians. The care process coordinator is responsible for continuing the contact between patients and providers. The resource coordinator or resource manager handles medical and hospital billing. Finally, the communicator or information coordinator is responsible for the management and coordination of information emanating from different sources.

Inter-professional communication in healthcare is significant in the incorporation of all information channels such as electronic health records, progress notes, telephone conversations, text messages, e-mails, “snail mails” and faxes. Effective communication in the delivery of healthcare enables care teams to handle conflicting viewpoints and attain reasonable compromises. Inter-professional communication also enables the team members from different professionals to communicate with one another in a responsive, responsible and collaborative manner. It also incorporates full transparency and disclosure in the interactions between the healthcare professionals and the patients, families and clients (CIHC, 2010).


Baker, P. G. (2010). ‘Framework for action on inter-professional education and collaborative practice’.

Canadian Inter-professional Health Collaborative (CIHC). (2010). A National Inter-professional Competency Framework. Retrieved from: http://www.cihc.ca/files/CIHC_IPCompetencies_Feb1210.pdf

Inter-professional Education Collaborative Expert Panel (IECEP). (2011). Core competencies for inter-professional collaborative practice: Report of an
expert panel. Washington, D.C.: Inter-professional Education Collaborative.

Torrens, P. R. (2010). The health care team members: Who are they and what do they do. Collaboration across the disciplines in health care, 1-18.