July 23, 2021

Peter Brack on team sports, passports and interprofessional education

Peter Brack, Associate Director – Education, Allied Health and Interprofessional Programs, is a self-confessed introvert. As he admits it is, “a bit weird given a central theme of my career has been ‘collaboration’.”

With a background in occupational therapy, Pete’s interest in Interprofessional Education (IPE) started over ten years ago when he was involved in two projects related to Interprofessional Education.

One of those projects called the Interprofessional Practice Placement, was the first interprofessional training ward set-up in Australia, and was focused on interprofessional teams of students, working to provide care to patients on sub-acute wards at Northern Health.

Pete says, “These projects delivered some great outcomes and really highlighted for me how much I enjoyed working in education.”

As someone who played team sport all his life, Pete says he was a bit surprised by the way the word ‘team’ was thrown around in healthcare without all of the core elements that he valued so much throughout his sporting life.

“Things like having a clearly defined common goal, mutual respect, a knowledge of each other’s strengths, and the camaraderie you get from knowing the people around you,” says Pete.

He believes “Interprofessional Education – which is when we learn with from and about one another – is the methodology we should use to create great teams.”

He says, “Working collaboratively has so many benefits in terms of patient safety, quality of care and efficiency, but it has also been shown to improve morale, reduce turnover and increase job satisfaction which makes it a no-brainer for me.”

During his time as Allied Health Clinical School Coordinator, Pete was able to follow his interest in IPE to publish his first journal article and complete some research on a new resource he created with his education colleagues, called the Interprofessional Passport.

Pete and his team are working towards relaunching a more digitally enabled version of the Interprofessional Passport, based on over ten years of experience of running interprofessional programs.

The Interprofessional Passport will facilitate interprofessional learning opportunities for students and new graduate clinicians to improve client and patient outcomes via collaborative practice.

The Interprofessional Passport is described as a ‘framework that will help you start to look beyond what is familiar, it will make you reflect on what is happening around you. It will help you understand your own role better in the context of a team and we hope it will help us move further towards our goal of high functioning interprofessional teams.’

The passport has been designed to facilitate interprofessional learning within a clinical context based on learner identified needs. The learner, in consultation with their supervisors, will tailor a program suitable to the learner’s needs. It is hoped that this resource may be incorporated into orientation programs for staff in the future.

The over- arching learning outcomes for the user will be the ability to articulate a deeper understanding and appreciation for one’s own professional role and to share profession-specific knowledge with all members of the interprofessional team to enhance team collaboration.

Continuing with his sport analogy, Pete says, “Great teams train together – a lot of what happens in healthcare would be like a basketball team training, by all separately shooting at different baskets.”

“I believe if we can find opportunities to train together, it will have a positive impact on the way our teams function and in turn the care we provide to our patients.”