Now is the time for full practice authority for physician assistants (PAs). I’ve probably caught your attention, and I will elaborate. But first, in the spirit of full disclosure, let me say that I teach in the only integrated PA and nurse practitioner (NP) education program in the United States. This keeps the topic of interprofessional education and collaboration at the forefront of my thoughts. Interprofessional education, as has been previously alluded to in this blog, has been identified as a key innovation in health professions education and a means to achieve the “triple aim” of improved patient care, improved health outcomes, and more affordable healthcare systems.1 It occurs “When students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”2
Interprofessional education, which enhances learner outcomes in the form of competency development and effective collaboration, is the precursor to interprofessional collaborative practice, which enhances patient care outcomes and is essential to build a safer, patient-centered and population-oriented healthcare system.
The general competencies for interprofessional practice and collaboration defined by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) are:
• values and ethics for interprofessional practice
• roles and responsibilities
• interprofessional communication
• teams and teamwork.3