1. Holtschneider, Mary Edel MEd, MPA, BSN, RN, NPD-BC, NREMT-P, CPTD
  2. Park, Chan W. MD, FAAEM

Article Content

In our previous columns, we have explored individual core competencies of the Interprofessional Educational Collaborative (2016). We have examined each of the four core competencies (values and ethics, roles and responsibilities, interprofessional communication, and teams and teamwork) and how each is essential to achieving the high-functioning interprofessional team and the culture that sustains it. If successfully cultivated, who wins? Everyone does, including preprofessional students, healthcare professionals, administrators, patients, families, and society.

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Over the past year, we have transitioned the focus of our column from strategies to improve the interprofessional team to strategies that improve the interprofessional learning environment. We have been exploring strategies that allow transformative and immersive experiences to take place in this unique sphere. Since the introduction of our "Six Mindfulness Strategies" series from 2018, we have received continuous validation for our work and requests from a broad segment of our readership to continue exploring this topic in order to address the all too common stressful and hectic healthcare workplace. Apparently, this topic resonates more deeply among our readers than we had originally thought. Many readers have asked us if these same strategies could help address sensitive matters involving blame, shame, bullying, and incivility. We have even been asked to explore microaggression, which is rather subtle, and other forms of aggression that are not so subtle.


Upon carefully weighing our options, we felt that, in 2021, we would endeavor to tackle these serious topics, with a special focus on microaggression. What's ironic about microaggression is that the effect of this formless, colorless, odorless behavior when it is taking place is visible, audible, and certainly palpable. These latter features allow nursing professional development (NPD) practitioners to isolate a particular emotion associated with a specific microaggression and act on mindfulness strategies to respond in a measured manner. Our hope is that we can teach our learners in meaningful ways how to mitigate some of the detrimental and long-lasting negative effects of microaggression.


So, this year, we will explore ways that the interprofessional learning environment can help improve internal focus by promoting a more curative arena for team members themselves, rather than its more traditional external targeted focus on patient-centered care. Certainly, the goal of increased interprofessional teamwork and communication is to improve care of the patient, yet can it not also improve the health and well-being of the workplace? As this year unfolds, we will endeavor to draw your attention to the various types of verbal interactions that take place in the interprofessional learning environment and how to improve the quality of each of these subtle, yet powerful, touchpoints between colleagues. Our aim is to call attention to situations that, in the past, might not have been addressed. A few commonly cited reasons for why microagression may be summarily dismissed in the workplace include personal discomfort, fear of "rocking the boat," or peer pressure to fit in and to avoid making waves.


NPD practitioners serve as leaders in the workplace, and Standard 12: Leadership in the Nursing Professional Development: Scope and Standards of Practice, Third Edition, supports this important interprofessional work. The competencies listed under this standard include creating healthy work environments, supporting innovation and risk taking, and incorporating leadership strategies into educational activities (Harper & Maloney, 2016). For the practice environment to be healthier, the healthcare professionals themselves need to be healthy, and NPD practitioners would do well to foster and sustain this endeavor.


In addition to the NPD scope and standards of practice, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) standards for a healthy work environment include a standard on true collaboration, stating that "nurses must be relentless in pursuing and fostering true collaboration." Not only does mindfulness practice equip individual learners to be at their better self, it embraces that AACN standard that emphasizes the "health care organization provides team members with support for and access to interprofessional education and coaching that develop collaboration skills" (AACN, 2016).


As we look at these workplace issues, we will also use the New World Kirkpatrick Model to help us formulate Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 evaluation metrics, with a particular focus on Level 3, behavior change (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2016). We will view leading indicators that are linked to the business of the organization, such as staff satisfaction rates, patient satisfaction scores, and employee turnover, to aid in determining the success of our interventions.


We invite you on this journey with us as we probe deeper into addressing these important concepts to promote true collaboration and enhance the work environment. We look forward to hearing your thoughts, suggestions, and insights as we progress through this year. Please e-mail us at and




American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Standards for establishing and sustaining healthy work environments: A journey to excellence (2nd ed.). (2016). [Context Link]


Harper M., Maloney P. (Eds.) (2016). Nursing professional development: Scope and standards of practice. ANPD. [Context Link]


Interprofessional Education Collaborative. (2016). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: 2016 Update. [Context Link]


Kirkpatrick J., Kirkpatrick W. (2016). Kirkpatrick's four levels of training evaluation. ATD Press. [Context Link]