The aim of the current research was to examine the gap between the theoretical versus applied effectiveness of inter-professional practice (IPP). Existing research suggests that inter-professional practice models of care increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and co-ordination of patient care, and improve teamwork, collaboration, and patient outcomes. However, in practice IPP met these objectives with mixed success (D’Amour et al., 2005; Zwarenstein et al., 2009; Carey et al., 2010). A definitional limitation was also noted; persistent problems with terminology (specifically, many inter-related, inconsistently used definitions) has created challenges for conducting and consolidating research in this area (Heatley & Kruske, 2011).In order to further understand the theory to practice gap, the current research involved three studies which explored health professionals’, management’s and patients’ perceptions of the definition and enactment of inter-professional practice. A grounded theory methodology was used to examine these stakeholders' perceptions of inter-professional practice as it allowed for a process-centred approach to understanding the phenomena. As the literature indicated that existing theories offered overly simplistic, inputs to outputs based approaches to exploring inter-professional practice, it was clear that there existed a need to explore the processes involved in enacting effective inter-professional practice (D’Amour et al., 2005; Reeves, 2010). Therefore, the first study in the current research explored how health professionals and management (N: 21) working in a paediatrics unit define and perceive effective inter-professional practice. A semi-structured interview was conducted with each participant and the data was subsequently coded using grounded theory methodology.
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