The essay Topic is: Australia’s National Health Strategic Framework discusses moving
towards interdisciplinary teams of clinicians. What are the differences between
multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work practices. Discuss how training and
development can be structured to support interdisciplinary work practices.
The essay requirement is: please read carefully of the topic. this topic is under the subject
of Health Workforce.
- Addresses the subject and the issues raised in the question
- Evidence of an appropriate level of research regarding various concepts relating to the
- Demonstrates an appropriate level of understanding of the theoretical principles and
- Ideas are clearly articulated and coherently structured
Differences between multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work practices
Initiatives to improve health service provided are underway as various institutions come
up with different approaches of enhancing service delivery. Australia National Health strategic
framework is one of the institutions strategizing to move towards interdisciplinary teams. This
discussion, seeks to extrapolate on the differences between multi disciplinary and
interdisciplinary work practices and how training can be structured in interdisciplinary work
The current heath framework that is being used is multidisciplinary. The roles of nurses
and physiotherapist and other health practitioners under this approach are distinct and therefore,
it is difficult for the nurses to move and handle patients in absence of the physiotherapist. This
situation therefore, affects delivery and quality of healthcare provision (Clarke, D et al. 2012).
Even though these terms are used interchangeably, some researchers have provided clear
definition of these collaborative approaches. Multidisciplinary work practices usually involves
MULTIDISCIPLINARY AND INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK PRACTICES 2
limited exchange or sharing of information between the collaborators of health practitioners as
everyone provides his or her own expertise to the problem through division of labour (Borrego &
Newswander, 2008). Therefore, in this situation, you find that every health practitioners works
on his own towards common problem. In this approach or work situation, there is little learning
about the other disciplines involved in the project as every individual is working as individual
towards solving the same problem.
On the other hand, interdisciplinary means that people from different disciplines work
together in an integrated way. Therefore, the health practitioners with versed skills work together
and combine their knowledge to come up with a solution to a problem at hand. In this approach,
health practitioners are able to learn something from other colleagues (Mellor, 2006). They learn
new skills that are outside their areas of expertise. This opportunity is also encouraged and
recommended because; it ensures that the health practitioners are all grounded on different
aspects concerning health. Therefore, they are able to attend to individual patients in absence of
the specialist medical practitioners because; they are grounded or informed about various
situations (Borrego & Newswander, 2008). Furthermore, this approach in essential in work
practice because, it ensures that there is cooperation, which is essential in enhancing or providing
better, health care to the individual patients. It furthermore, builds the spirit of teamwork and
unity that is fundamental in improving the service delivery in a health facility.
Training and development is also very essential in ensuring that interdisciplinary work
practices functions and succeed. The structure of the training should be aligned with the
objectives or the goals to be achieved. According to Lawrence, Davis & Perusich (2005)
successful interdisciplinary work practices requires creation, finding, a common ground, or goals
for individual or disciplines. The individuals should have a common goal that they want to
MULTIDISCIPLINARY AND INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK PRACTICES 3
achieve for the work practice to bear fruits. (Lucchi, M et al. (2011). Therefore, the first thing is
to study the motivation and the individual goals of the employees. They should have a driving
force and goals which they want to achieve. The training should also encourage teamwork
among the health practitioners. It is through this teamwork that the practitioners are going to
embrace one another and see the need to work together (Payne et al. 2011). It is also important,
for the training to emphasis on the need of enhancing or promoting quality of healthcare. The
objective of clinicians and other practitioners is to sustain life and ensure that clients are attended
In conclusion, decision to embrace interdisciplinary work practices is essential and it is
going to impact positively on the healthcare in Australia. However, for this to work effectively,
it is prudent for all the stakeholders to work together and understand its benefits through training
MULTIDISCIPLINARY AND INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK PRACTICES 4
Borrego, M., & Newswander, L. (2008). Characteristics of successful cross-disciplinary
engineering education collaborations. Journal of Engineering Education, 97(1), 123-134.
Clarke, D et al. (2012). Interdisciplinary health research: perspectives from a process evaluation
research team, Quality in Primary Care, 20(2):179-189.
Laware, G., Davis, B., & Perusich, K. (2005). Initiating interdisciplinary projects: Finding
common ground. Paper presented at the American Society for Engineering Education
Annual Conference, Portland.
Lucchi, M et al. (2011). Work in Multidisciplinary Teams: a Study about Mobilization of
Knowledge and Learning in an Organization of Complex Products, BAR – Brazilian
Administration Review, 8(3): 305-328.
Mellor, M. (2006). Interdisciplinary Team Practices, In: Berkman, Barbara, editor; D’Ambruoso,
Sarah, editor; Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging; Oxford University Press
MULTIDISCIPLINARY AND INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK PRACTICES 5
Payne, H et al. (2011). How multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) work in practice in the
management of advanced prostate cancer: A survey of oncologists and urologists in the
UK, British Journal of Medical & Surgical Urology, 4(2): 68-77.