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Exploring the interpersonal collaboration during the integration of diabetes teams into primary care.

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 17:31 by Enza Gucciardi, Sherry Espin, Antonia Morganti, Linda Dorado
Background Specialised diabetes teams, specifically certified nurse and dietitian diabetes educator teams, are being integrated part-time into primary care to provide better care and support for Canadians living with diabetes. This practice model is being implemented throughout Canada in an effort to increase patient access to diabetes education, self-management training, and support. Interprofessional collaboration can have positive effects on both health processes and patient health outcomes, but few studies have explored how health professionals are introduced to and transition into this kind of interprofessional work. Method Data from 18 interviews with diabetes educators, 16 primary care physicians, 23 educators’ reflective journals, and 10 quarterly debriefing sessions were coded and analysed using a directed content analysis approach, facilitated by NVIVO software. Results Four major themes emerged related to challenges faced, strategies adopted, and benefits observed during this transition into interprofessional collaboration between diabetes educators and primary care physicians: (a) negotiating space, place, and role; (b) fostering working relationships; (c) performing collectively; and (d) enhancing knowledge exchange. Conclusions Our findings provide insight into how healthcare professionals who have not traditionally worked together in primary care are collaborating to integrate health services essential for diabetes management. Based on the experiences and personal reflections of participants, establishing new ways of working requires negotiating space and place to practice, role clarification, and frequent and effective modes of formal and informal communication to nurture the development of trust and mutual respect, which are vital to success.