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J Interprof Care. 2014 Mar;28(2):98-102. doi: 10.3109/13561820.2013.851073. Epub 2013 Nov 6.

The (stalled) progress of interprofessional collaboration: the role of gender.

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Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, University of Delaware , Newark, DE , USA and.


Researchers have demonstrated that team-based, collaborative care improves patient outcomes and fosters safer, more effective health care. Despite such positive findings, interprofessional collaboration (IPC) has been somewhat stunted in its adoption. Utilizing a socio-historical lens and employing expectation states theory, we explore potential reasons behind IPC's slow integration. More specifically, we argue that a primary mechanism hindering the achievement of the full promise of IPC stems not only from the rigid occupational status hierarchy nested within health care delivery, but also from the broader status differences between men and women--and how these societal-level disparities are exercised and perpetuated within health care delivery. For instance, we examine not only the historical differences in occupational status of the more "gendered" professions within health care delivery teams (e.g. medicine and nursing), but also the persistent under-representation of women in the physician workforce, especially in leadership positions. Doing so reveals how gender representation, or lack thereof, could potentially lead to ineffective, mismanaged and segmented interprofessional care. Implications and potential solutions are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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