05 SES 06 B, Urban Education & Children and Youth at Risk
Parallel Paper Session
While the idea of school-linked service and interprofessional collaboration is often considered attractive, actualizing collaboration to improve student health and learning outcomes for at-risk students has proven far more difficult to achieve. It has become increasing clear that professional development opportunities are necessary to foster capacity building for complex partnerships and new skills among the various professionals who work with at-risk children in schools (Barr, Koppel, Reeves, Hammick & Freeth, 2005; Anderson-Butcher et al., 2010). The purpose of this research is to explore action research as professional development strategy to improve collaborative competencies in an interprofessional team focused on supporting students with complex health and learning needs.
The participants called themselves the I-team and were all employed by a common school district. The I-team consisted of eleven members: two Occupational Therapists (OT), three Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP), a Psychologist, a Social Worker (SW), three teachers and the researcher. Using action research as the professional development strategy to improve their practice, the I-team focused on three questions over the course of 12 months: 1) How can we learn more about the scope of practice of each of our professions 2) What are some of the challenges to collaboration? 3) How can we overcome those challenges to improve health and learning outcomes for at-risk youth.?
Even though this research project was grounded in the “communities of practice” (Wenger, 1998), “community schools” (Blank, Melaville, & Shah, 2003) and “full service schools” (Dryfoos & Maguire, 2002) literature, understanding “interprofessional competencies” through interprofessional education is complex and professional development in this area is still in its infancy (Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative [CIHC], 2010 p. 9; Joyce and Calhoun, 2010). Increasingly, significant contributions have been made to the ways pre-service interprofessional education is organized and implemented but meaningful, comprehensive professional development for in-service professionals continues to evolve (CIHC, 2010). Similarly, the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (2002) underscored the need for human service professionals to collaborate, calling for changes to the way professionals are not only trained, but receive professional development while in-service.
Understanding how in-service professionals develop collaborative competencies and how professional development models might support growth in each of these domains is challenging since competencies develop at different rates, over a career and vary depending on context (Oandasan & Reeves, 2005). Joyce and Calhoun, (2010) suggest several collaborative models useful for fostering staff development including study groups, professional learning communities and action research. Specifically, they state that collaborative professional development models increase positive affect, providing collegial and desirable opportunities for partners to engage in their practice. Additionally, these models empower the participant and foster greater personal investment of the partners, which increases learning and implementation of selected knowledge and skills.
Anderson-Butcher, D., Lawson, H., Iachini, A., Flaspohler, P., Bean, J., & Mdivanian, R. (2010). Emergent evidence in support of a community collaboration model for school improvement. Children and Schools, 32 (3),160-171. Barr, H., Koppel, I., Reeves, S., Hammick, M., & Freeth, D. (2005). Effective interprofessional education: Argument, assumption & evidence. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Blank, M., Melaville, A., & Shah, B. (2003). Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools. Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership. Retrieved June 20, 2011 from www.communityschools.org/mtdhomepage.html Charmaz, K. (2011). Grounded theory methods in social justice research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp.341-358). London. SAGE. Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory. A practical guide through quantitative analysis. London: SAGE. CIHC, (2010). A national interprofessional competency framework. Vancouver, BC: Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative. Retrieved May 31, 2010, from http://www.cihc.ca/files/CIHC_IPCompetencies_Feb1210.pdf Dryfoos, J., & Maguire, S. (2002). Inside full service community schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Glaser, B., & Struass, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine. Oandasan, I., & Reeves, S. (2005). Key elements for interprofessional education. Journal of Interprofessional Care [Special Issue], 19(1), 21-38. Strauss A Corbin J (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research grounded theory procedures and techniques (2nd. Ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA. SAGE. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
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