1. Be prepared 
  2. Know your learners and “invest in the beginning” 
  3. Create a safe and open environment 
  4. Understand and respond to group dynamics 
  5. Encourage diplomacy and allow for various opinions 
  6. Be a positive role model for IP collaboration 
  7. Monitor the situation 
  8. Maintain neutrality and sensitivity 
  9. Focus the conversation on IP practice and collaboration 
  10. Have closure 
Be Prepared for “Flying Blind” 
  • Know that you will not have access to many of the sensory skills you use in the F2F setting 
  • Consider how the foundations of your F2F IPE Facilitation skills will transfer to the online environment 
Don’t Let Technology Take Over
  • The more complex it is the more likely there will be “bumps” – go with the flow 
  • Develop contingency plans that will allow collaboration to move forward in the face of glitches 
  • Provide support and give learners adequate time to work with new applications and technology: keep tasks very simple at the start to reduce anxiety 
Be Explicit, Be Clear 
  • Expectations about homework, participation and other areas may need to be spelled out very clearly, in multiple places, multiple times 
  • Simple netiquette rules (e.g. introducing yourself before you speak in a synchronous environment, avoiding use of CAPITALS in the asynchronous setting) should be addressed and consider providing ahead of time 
Make Sure the IPE Collaborative Process Gets Its Due
  • Look to connect process elements to tasks to deepen collaboration and group development 
  • Understand that learners may be drawn to the relatively safe structure of a task in the unfamiliar online world. Challenge and support them to address both task and process elements. 
Take Full Advantage of What the Online Environment Offers
  • The online setting has a lot to offer that the F2F setting does not 
  • Seize every opportunity to bring in online resources, tools, videos that enhance the collaborative learning 
Make Full Use of Your Co-Facilitator (if applicable) 
  • If you have a co-facilitator, use them for modeling collaborative practice, content or process support, tech support and mentorship 
  • Ensure you both do reflective debriefing after every module 
  • If you do not have a co-facilitator, be open about your need for support from others 
  • Continue to reflect to allow growth from activity to activity  
Expect IPE Group Processes May Take Longer
  • Allow for extra time for learners to find their way in this new world. They will likely spend considerable time at first contributing from their own professional view points 
  • Watch for signs that the group is feeling greater comfort: asking each other questions, disagreeing with each other, taking leadership 
  • Foster the IP group process development through implicit (and explicit) encouragement as well as modeling 
  • Consider following-up with quieter participants through 1:1 contact to support and develop approaches to build their comfort and participation

Created by: Elizabeth Hanna, Interprofessional Education Specialist, University Health Network 

Tips for Incorporating IPE in Clinical Environment

The Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at Washington University Medical Campus publishes a quarterly newsletter to share updates and professional development opportunities. For questions or to join our mailing list, contact the center!

How learners can be helpful in a clinical setting 

Clinical Activities

  1. Assisting with documentation in the EHR (EPIC or other):
    • Reconcile meds, problem list 
    • Document Past Medical/ Surgical history, Family history, Social history, Review of Systems 
    • After Visit Summary 
  2. Obtain Vital Signs 
  3. Administer and review screening forms (depression, asthma, developmental milestones in children, etc.) with patient/ caregivers 
  4. Review logs (blood glucose in diabetic patients, blood pressures in hypertensive patients, etc.) with patient/ caregivers   
  5. Assess risk factors (smoking, diet, exercise, etc.) 
  6. Communicate with additional providers regarding patient updates or gathering further information (including teachers, other health professionals, other community resources, etc.) 
  7. Identify and contact patients who would benefit from care (visits, immunizations, screenings, etc.) 
  8. Perform phone follow-ups or check-ins (inform patients of results and/or obtain information from them such as BPs, glucose, etc.) 

Patient Education

  1. Provide cessation education or other guidance 
  2. Review discharge/ After Visit Summary/ educational material with patient/ caregivers 
  3. Provide anticipatory guidance 
  4. Provide nutrition education (portion sizes, label interpretation, understanding nutrition recommendations, etc.) 
  5. Identify community resources/ support groups/etc. 


  1. Perform some parts of exam and screenings (diabetic foot exam, etc.) 
  2. Draw blood 
  3. Administer immunizations and/or other medications 
  4. Assist with procedures 

Assisting with Clinic Flow

  1. Assist with office QI projects 
  2. Review literature or guidelines for updated recommendations 
  3. Greet patient in waiting area/ accompany to room/ accompany to subsequent stop (lab, radiology, waiting area, etc.) 
  4. Assist with scheduling of subsequent visits (esp. to maintain continuity of provider)