Healthcare professionals’ experience of interprofessional collaborative encounters in primary care: a descriptive phenomenological analysis

Thumbnail Image
Trace, Anna
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Interprofessional collaboration amongst healthcare professionals in Primary Care is becoming an important focus as a worldwide shift from secondary (specialist hospital care) to primary (first level of contact in general practice) healthcare delivery is being made. The establishment and development of Interprofessional collaboration has been supported by the World Health Organisation and many worldwide government strategies and policies to enhance quality, safety, and effectiveness within an increasingly burdened healthcare system. A lot of focus in the mainly qualitative research literature has been on healthcare professionals general experience, and/or identifying what key structure and process factors support interprofessional collaboration, or team working. However, more in-depth understanding of the nature of interprofessional collaboration is needed. This study is a qualitative enquiry into the lived experiences of interprofessional collaborative encounters in Primary Care in Ireland. Six healthcare professionals’ descriptions of collaborative encounters with others involved in Primary Care were acquired. The data was analysed using Giorgi’s descriptive phenomenological method, which is based on Husserl’s and Merleau-Ponty’s philosophical phenomenology. The results indicate that a collaborative encounter involves the following essential psychological constituents: change in momentum or drive; communication adaptation; development of closer relationship that provided nurturing, but in some cases enmeshment; exertion of influence in order to protect and provide benefit; and learning from experience, reflection and education. The lived experience of an interprofessional collaborative encounter/s as shown in this study gives a deeper understanding of the complexities and nuances involved. Thus, this study aids the appreciation of the actual, whole interprofessional collaborative experience rather than a focus on the idealized, or only positive aspects of this experience. This has relevance for healthcare professionals, managers, educators, and researchers who can use this understanding of the phenomenon to develop and expand their knowledge, or management, or educational support, and/or research focus.
Interprofessional collaboration , Descriptive phenomenological analysis , Healthcare professional
O'Reilly Trace, A. E. 2020. Healthcare professionals’ experience of interprofessional collaborative encounters in primary care: a descriptive phenomenological analysis. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
Link to publisher’s version