Activity 14: Observe Interprofessional Interactions



Examine an interaction between a doctor, nurse, resident, fellow, or office staff member. Pay attention to facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and length of conversation.


-Students will be able to assess the interaction and observe whether it has a positive or negative impact on the workplace dynamic.

-Students will be able to analyze the effects of the interaction and determine the importance of mutually beneficial inter-professional relations.


Any shadowing site that employs multiple individuals in different positions.

Recommended Preparatory Reading:

Poghosyan, Lusine, Angela Nannini, Patricia W. Stone, and Arlene Smaldone. "Nurse Practitioner Organizational Climate in Primary Care Settings: Implications for Professional Practice." Journal of Professional Nursing 29.6 (2013): 338-49.

Vesel, Travis P., Bridget C. O'brien, Duncan M. Henry, and Sandrijn M. Van Schaik. "Useful but Different: Resident Physician Perceptions of Interprofessional Feedback." Teaching and Learning in Medicine 28.2 (2016): 125-34.


Half an hour to an hour

Appropriate for:

Advanced undergraduate pre-medical students, nursing students, and graduate students in the health professions

Activity Description:

You will be observing an interaction between various professionals in the medical field. You will be taking fieldwork notes that cover the following topics:

1) Summary of the interaction that is observed

2) An analysis of one of the following components of the interaction

-The nonverbal facial or body cues

-Language choice as well as tone and volume level

-The length of the conversation

-How the conversation concludes

3) An answer to one of the following questions:

-If the conversation was between professionals of different statures (e.g. doctor and nurse), was there a difference in the interaction component you analyzed compared to interactions between professionals of equal status?

-Do you have any ideas to make inter-professional interaction more beneficial for the harmony of the healthcare environment?

-Does there appear to be a gap in inter-professional communication? If so, how does it compare to doctor/patient interactions you observed?

Using your answers from the questions above and your shadowing experiences, write a reflective essay.