An International Network, a Royal College and IPE

A truly international experience took place on the 9th and 10th of January at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The International Network on Health Workforce Education and Research (INHWE) held their 2nd European Conference with a theme of Interprofessional Education. More than 90 people representing 24 countries and four continents attended the conference, and what struck me the most was how interprofessional the delegates were too. All professional roles of healthcare were represented, with the commonality of wanting to learn more about embedding interprofessional learning for their organisation. 

The conference provides an ideal balance between workshops, presentations and networking opportunities. There was an overwhelming friendliness to both days and an eagerness to connect with like-minded people who all shared similar values. I was not surprised when listening to the presentations that regardless of what country you are in, the evidence points to interprofessional practice improving patient care, safety and outcomes. However, what did surprise me was that we all encountered the same barriers to implement interprofessional education either in a university or healthcare organisation. This provided an ideal opportunity to demonstrate what INHWE is about - turning theory and collective problems into solutions with the brightest minds in the field. I was awestruck at how this naturally developed with brilliant examples and tools to engage and implement this proven practice in healthcare. 

It was humbling to not only be with some incredible people but to reflect upon our venue. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, whilst the title may appear to be Uni-Professional, this institution has developed into a world renowned interprofessional university, training Ireland’s best clinicians across all disciplines in healthcare. 

As a huge advocate for INHWE and the great work that it encourages and facilitates, I highly recommend that you consider engaging with this international network not only to expand your horizons but to hear of the fantastic initiatives taking place around the world to improve healthcare workforce and education. Furthermore, the next conference is in May on the Future Education for Healthcare and will be hosted in another fantastic venue, the European University Cyprus in Nicosia.   

Adam Layland, Assistant Professor in Leadership and Management

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University