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J Interprof Care. 2010 Nov;24(6):710-21. doi: 10.3109/13561820903550796.

Changing stress while stressing change: the role of interprofessional education in mediating stress in the introduction of a transformative technology.

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Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada.


The introduction of a transformative technology into practice settings can affect the functioning of interprofessional teams, placing stress on interprofessional relationships, thus slowing adoption and change. This study explored the potential of an interprofessional education (IPE) approach to mediate this stress and facilitate the adoption of a transformative technology- Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT). Oncologists, physicists, and therapists in radiation medicine who attended an interprofessional IGRT Education Course were interviewed about perceived benefits and stressors to IPE and to interprofessional practice (IPP) in the IGRT context. A modified grounded theory approach was used to conduct 14 interviews, with 200 minutes of interview time recorded. In introducing IGRT, participants noted interprofessional stress in understanding and adopting new technology. IPE offered common terminology, appreciation for others' knowledge, and a holistic framework for practice. Outcomes were thought to foster collaboration, efficiency, and improved professional role definition. Time constraints and power relations were noted to be residual stressors exacerbated by IPE, but were thought to be transient. IPE can thus be of benefit in the implementation of transformative technologies such as IGRT, through mediation of interprofessional stress inherent in change. Interprofessional knowledge, collaboration, and efficiency in practice facilitate the development and adoption of a new practice model.

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