The Journey to Joint Accreditation and Interprofessional Continuing Education: The Journey Is the Destination

By Anna Herbert, MSN, RN, CPHON; Odile Kennedy, MSN, APRN, CNP; Laura Belles, PharmD; Jill Guilfoile, MEd, BSN, NPD-BC; Sharon Herndon, BS; Anne Lesko, PharmD; Andrea Thrasher, MEd; Laura Werts, MEd, MS, CMP; Melissa Worrell, MA 

In December 2018, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center accomplished a long-time goal by achieving Joint Accreditation status. While this achievement marked the end of one part of our interprofessional continuing education (IPCE) journey, it was the beginning of another. We are sharing our journey over three issues of the Almanac.

Our first installment focused on the essential role relationships play in the beginning of the journey, and the second installment addressed preparation for application, self-study and infrastructure. This final installment will review where we are now and where we’re headed next!

The Journey Is the Destination

Through this process, we realized there is not a “final” destination. Rather, as a team, we set goals, and reaching each goal brings us to a rest stop, a place to pause, assess and choose the next path forward.

The intentionality of the interprofessional continuing education (IPCE) team propels us forward. SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable/achievable, relevant/realistic, time-bound) are set, pursued, reviewed, adjusted and evaluated. Communication among the team members is frequent, direct and occurs in multiple formats. This leads to a team who trusts each other, learns from each other and enjoys working together. Current communication methods include:

  • Email with searchable “IPCE” subject line (for longer-term questions and requests)
  • Instant messaging (for quick, easy questions and requests)
  • Weekly Skype calls (for our weekly program review meeting
  • One-on-one, in-person meetings (for detailed conversations between team members)
  • In-person/Skype team meetings (for getting the team together monthly to answer questions, discuss concerns, and to build rapport and comradery)

As a team, we have been required to manage transition from the beginning of our journey. While uncomfortable at times, our shared vision and commitment has ensured we continue to focus on the road ahead; to plan when we can and successfully detour when we must. We are currently onboarding a new “travel companion.” This process required the team to:

  • Identify needed skills and competencies
  • Clarify roles
  • Refine team purpose

Although the process associated with bringing on a new team member took focused intention and more time than anticipated, we believe it was required to propel us toward our goals and to keep our metaphorical engines running strong.

Updating Our Maps

One of our biggest learnings is that the entire team must commit to the standardized processes and documentation. Without this essential practice, we risk crashing. Therefore, we have embraced the use of Smartsheet, a cloud-based platform, to help us navigate our portfolio of approximately 600 activities. Smartsheet helps us keep track of the nuances of our programs, while creating a visual picture of our capacity. We found that just “using Smartsheet” and “creating a process” is not enough. As an interprofessional team with varied roles in multiple locations, we must communicate consistently to ensure that processes work for everyone.

As we gain expertise, we will continue to pursue opportunities for operational efficiencies. Processes and documentation — our roadmaps to success — are dynamic, and adjustments are made frequently based on new information.

The Road Less Traveled

In 2020, we are adding physician assistant (PA) credit to our portfolio. This will create yet another change for our team. We are certain, however, that we will be able to do this smoothly and confidently. We know there will be further detours along the way, but clear processes combined with our flexibility will ensure the addition of PA credit will be a benefit to our learners.

We have started using the Joint Accreditation commendation criteria as a catalyst to expand our reach and impact. The success of our team comes from each member’s desire to improve interprofessional continuing education at Cincinnati Children’s. We recognize this can only happen when we are willing to get outside of our comfort zones: ask questions, have direct conversations and take the road less traveled.

Final Travel Tips

If you've read each of our installments, the common theme has been the importance of the team. We discovered that, ultimately, your team is your compass:

  • The ride will be bumpy: Preparation is essential.
  • Travel companions will come and go: Solid processes and flexible minds are required.
  • It is a lived experience: Explaining Joint Accreditation and the IPCE journey can be challenging, as you need to experience the landmarks, breakdowns and accelerations to really understand.
  • Maintain the willingness to help fellow travelers as your true north.

In memory of our colleague and friend, Sharon Herndon.


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