Interprofessional identity in health and social care : a critical interpretive synthesis and concept analysis

Gabriël Cantaert, MD Peter Pype, Emelien Lauwerier

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


Background: Interprofessional identity (IPI) formation has been asserted to be an essential goal of education due to its potential of reducing identity incongruency between professionals and enhancing collaboration. Nonetheless, there are noticeable differences in how this concept is understood which complicates theory generation and integration into practice, warranting the need for an in-depth investigation into the meaning of IPI. Methods: A critical interpretive synthesis and concept analysis was used to review the literature. Seven academic databases were searched until July 2020 for papers describing IPI, which led to the inclusion of 39 articles after screening 1334 records. Data-extraction and analysis in terms of the attributes, antecedents, and consequences occurred independently by two authors by use of a coding frame. Critical synthesis allowed the creation of a synthesizing argument, after which illustrative cases were constructed and empirical referents defined. Results: Analysis led to eight attributes of which the first five relate to the content and the remaining three to the structure of IPI: (1) interprofessional commitment, (2) shared mental models of collaborative teamwork (3) interprofessional values, (4) interprofessional beliefs, (5) interprofessional capabilities, (6) context-dependency, (7) fluid and dynamic, and (8) reconstructed professional identity. Furthermore nine types of antecedents and three consequences were identified that refer to the facilitators and outcomes of IPI-formation. Discussion: Interprofessional identity is a multidimensional construct of which the attributes can be sorted according to their cognitive, affective and behavioral orientation. The content entails that professionals have a strong belief in their interprofessional capabilities and hold compatible mental models of the global team state, they perceive a sense of belonging to a social category comprising various professional groups, and possess an intrinsic joint willingness and intention to work collaboratively. The structural properties comprise the saliency in situations necessitating an interprofessional approach, the fluid and dynamic formation during a lifespan, and the developmental stage characterized with a reconstruction of the identity to allow meaning-making of collaborative practice. Therefore, IPI can be regarded as a missing link in understanding interprofessional collaboration although further validation of the construct as well as investigation of the antecedents and consequences is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


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