Over the past decade, Interprofessional (IP) education and practice have been identified as priorities by federal and provincial health authorities based on research suggesting IP collaboration improves the health outcomes of patients (Kohn, Corrigan & Donaldson, 2005; Romanow, 2002). While this goal of IP collaboration has been established as a priority, the ‘means’ through which to arrive at the outcomes have not been adequately conceptualized, theorized or researched. With patient safety the shared priority, initiatives in IP health care education and practice have focused primarily on logistical arrangements, identification of IP competencies (Pecukonis, Doyle & Bliss, 2008) and development of relational and communication skills in teams (Pollard & Miers, 2008). However, despite gains in the acceptance of initiatives in IP education and practice, there remains resistance, suggesting that uniform enthusiasm for IP collaboration may be an assumption (Salhani & Charles, 2007).
The purpose of this study is to explore this assumption through in-depth discussions with students from nursing, social work, occupational therapy and medicine and their clinical and academic educators to increase understanding of their perceptions of interprofessionalism in relation to their own professional identify. We propose a constructivist grounded theory approach using data from interviews and focus groups to develop a conceptual framework from which educational interventions will be derived.