Using a meta-ethnographic approach to explore the nature of facilitation and teaching approaches employed in interprofessional education

Background: Interprofessional facilitators and teachers are regarded as central to the effective delivery of interprofessional education (IPE). As the IPE literature continues to expand, most studies have focused on reporting learner outcomes, with little attention paid to IPE facilitation. However, a number of studies have recently emerged reporting on this phenomenon.

Aim: To present a synthesis of qualitative evidence on the facilitation of IPE, using a meta-ethnographic approach.

Methods: Electronic databases and journals were searched for the past 10 years. Of the 2164 abstracts initially found, 94 full papers were reviewed and subsequently 12 papers were included. Teams of two reviewers independently completed each step in the review process. The quality of these papers was assessed using a modified critical appraisal checklist.

Results: Seven key concepts embedded in the included studies were synthesized into three main factors which provided an insight into the nature of IPE facilitation. Specifically, the synthesis found that IPE facilitation is influenced by “contextual characteristics”; “facilitator experiences”; and the “use of different facilitation strategies”.

Conclusions: IPE facilitation is a complex activity affected by contextual, experiential and pedagogical factors. Further research is needed to explore the effects of these factors on the delivery of IPE.