Interprofessional education (IPE) has been proposed as an important foundation in preparing health professionals for patient care within collaborative care environments. However, mandatory IPE experiences are not the norm in many schools of pharmacy and chiropractic [1, 2]. The following definition provided by the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (2002) is used to define IPE: "Interprofessional Education occurs when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care" .
Two important goals for collaborative health care models include: optimizing access to the skills and competencies of a wide range of health professionals; and facilitating health promotion and the prevention of illness . Collaborative health care is promoted as a solution to health workforce resource shortages, and as a way of increasing access to and improving the quality of care. As a result, health professional faculties across North America have been focusing their attention on frameworks to integrate IPE programs into their curricula [5, 6]. Worldwide, the World Health Organization has added IPE to its global health agenda recognizing it as a necessary component of all health professionals' education .
Systematic reviews have been conducted on the introduction and subsequent impact of early interprofessional collaboration on attitudes, perceptions, and willingness of health care providers to engage in cooperative effort for patient care . Although difficult to objectively evaluate IPE through randomized controlled trials, studies have found that a combination of didactic and clinical experiences may positively influence students' attitudes towards interprofessional care [9, 10].
An Ontario scoping review in 2009 on IPE found 90 published works that described learning opportunities for medical students, 41 for pharmacy students, and none for chiropractic students. It went on to describe, "It is possible that IPE with chiropractic students is occurring, but is not yet documented in the literature. To be sure, IPE opportunities for chiropractic students in Ontario are limited since students are part of a private institution that only offers chiropractic education" .
The teamwork in the domain of health care necessitates a comprehension of the diverse roles of each team member. Mandatory interprofessional shadowing experiences at chiropractic institutions could provide students of chiropractic with opportunities to have interprofessional mentoring, to learn from faculty from diverse disciplines and to interact with groups of interprofessional students and practitioners in clinical settings. These experiences allow for the sharing of knowledge and would stimulate an interprofessional approach that is centered on the patient.
IPE initiatives used by other professions (pharmacy and medicine) are described along with chiropractic in a local jurisdiction of Ontario, Canada for a relative comparison. This is done to highlight to the chiropractic profession that they are behind other health care professions in implementing IPE.
Interprofessional shadowing experiences would most likely take place in a multi-disciplinary clinical setting. We offer an example of how two separate professions within a Family Health Team (FHT) can work together in such a setting to enhance both student learning and patient care. A FHT is a health care organization that includes a team of family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, dietitians, and other health care professionals who work together to provide health care for their community .
For interprofessional shadowing experiences it is recommended that the educational institution not define the specific site visit objectives. An adult learning approach is favoured. This approach demonstrates the value of letting the learner take an active role in defining the objectives specific to his or her needs. However, the main learning outcomes for this intervention could be explicitly described by the institution to ensure learner participation in these goals, such as identifying profession-specific terminology, benefits and challenges of team-building and interprofessional communication.