Breaking the ice: Use of music improvisation to facilitate interprofessional communication


Uni-professional socialization is an expected outcome of professional training; however, this development can pose a barrier to interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional practice (IPP). As students progress in their educational and clinical training, they become acculturated in their professional ‘language’ and in domain-specific approaches to problem solving. An unintended consequence is that specialized terminology and narrow perspectives shaped by a single discipline can interfere with effective interprofessional collaboration and lower the quality of healthcare services. We introduced the Universal Language Room (ULR), an original IPE icebreaker designed to facilitate communication at its most fundamental level. The activity served as a metaphor for initiating effective cross-disciplinary interactions and preventing déformation professionelle. Immediate debriefing and written feedback prompted students to reflect upon the activity, why it was used, and what it achieved. Qualitative analysis of responses indicated that the experience helped students understand and appreciate key IPE objectives. Overall, results suggest that the ULR helped ‘break the ice’ during a pilot course in IPE and can be a useful model for promoting effective communication across disciplines.

Publication Title

Journal of Interprofessional Education and Practice