Redefining Interdisciplinary Practice

Rose Mary Carroll-Johnson

interdisciplinary, cancer research

Although bandied about more these days than in the past, the term “interdisciplinary practice” has been in use for many years and refers traditionally to the involvement of two or more professional disciplines in the care of the patient, including physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists, nutritionists, chaplains, and physical therapists. The number of healthcare professionals involved has never been static and varies depending on the setting, the patient’s needs, the hospital’s resources, the patient’s resources, and often the inclinations of the “team captain” (i.e., the physician). The more complicated the patient’s needs or the more difficult the management, the more often the interdisciplinary team concept will be invoked. Oncology care and hospice are two prime examples. In fact, as health care has become so much more complex, there may not be any area today in which care can or should be provided by only one professional.

Jump to a section