#9 Interprofessional Collaboration: The Upside of Hierarchy

Healthcare’s MissingLogic Podcast

#9 Interprofessional Collaboration: The Upside of Hierarchy

September 11, 2019

#9 Interprofessional Collaboration: The Upside of Hierarchy

Relationships are a critical element of interprofessional collaboration.  

In today’s episode, we discuss hierarchy and partnership within the context of interprofessional collaboration in the healthcare setting.  

There is a long history in the evolution of the health professions and how they work together that is rooted in social class and gender differences.

There is extensive literature describing the status inequities and power imbalances between physicians, nurses and other health professionals that exist today.

Historically these differences resulted in a hierarchical power structure within healthcare with the physician in the most superior position of the structure.  Interprofessional collaboration and team processes challenge this hierarchical power structure.

Health professionals bump up against the tension between hierarchy and partnership every day as they try to work in collaborative ways.

When we experience hierarchical relationships as negative or as a problem, it’s natural to want to move away from the experience and toward the opposite, a more partnering relationship.   

There is an upside to hierarchical relationships that we are at risk of losing if we over emphasize partnerships.  

We need both hierarchical and partnering relationships to establish a healthy interprofessional collaborative culture.  

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