Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

EIPEN (European Interprofessional Education Network in health and social care): developing a transnational interprofessional community of practice

Keywords: interprofessional learning, intercultural communication, partnership, European Project

Author: Doctor Marion Helme (Higher Education Academy - Subject Centre for Health Sciences and Practice at King's College London)

This presentation, which will be prepared in consultation with some of the partners in EIPEN and draw on the project evaluation, will include an outline of the project, a critical review of the partnership as a community of practice, and learning for future practice in working with transnational partners.

EIPEN is a transnational network, part funded (50%) by the Leonardo da Vinci Community Action Programme 2005 to 2007, with partners in six European countries (UK, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Finland and Greece). The aims are: to promote good practice in interprofessional education and to develop a transnational network in Partner countries. The outcomes of the first two years of EIPEN are a website to which partners contribute (, an international conference: 'learning together to work together' hosted by one of the EIPEN partners, the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, in September 2007, and some development of national networks in the partner countries. There are several possible futures for EIPEN dependent upon the imminent outcome of funding applications and evaluation, but we expect to develop a European thematic network with a larger partnership and a focus on quality assurance in interprofessional education in 2008.

Interim evaluation and experiences of managing the project have indicated three areas which have been problematic for partnership working but which have also helped us to develop as a community of practice. These are:

The presentation will be illustrated with examples of how we have worked with these and other problematic areas to build the partnership.

Interprofessional education (IPE) for collaborative practice is of worldwide interest because of the potential for 'learning with, from and about other professions' (CAIPE 2002) to improve practice and services in health and social care. EIPEN is a unique project involving partners with substantial experience in IPE but still many questions (UK, Scandinavia) and partners who are pioneers (Poland, Hungary), but whose experiences can be illuminatory. The partnership itself is an example of building a 'community of practice' against the challenges of intercultural and interprofessional communication. The main intended audience includes practitioners (in education, health and social care and other fields of practice) and policy makers.

Date: Wednesday 23 January 2008, 11.30-12.00

Venue: Ochil Two

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).