Research in InterProfessional Practice and Education: is RIPE really ripe?

I find it fortunate that RIPE works as an acronym for Research in InterProfessional Practice and Education. JRIPE would then be a journal that helps disseminate knowledge that is in all its fullness, seasoned, thoroughly matured, and ready to be consummated. That is all well and good when we can assume that we have gone through all the necessary phases of maturation. We would be ready to face all challenges; “Readiness is all” as Hamlet would have it. But are we ready? Is RIPE really ripe?

Based on several recent literature reviews, the answer would be No. We still have a long way to go. Our research is still too descriptive, using small samples to pilot test IPE activities that focus on changes in learners’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Only few studies use solid research designs that allow for strong scientific inferences about the nature of interprofessional collaboration, interprofessional education, and their effects on collective learning and care improvement.

So if RIPE works as an acronym, the research that it represents is not ripe. Our science is not ripe. What should we do? Should we wait for it to become ripe; we would like Paul Klee have our “hand…become the obedient instrument of a remote will” and works would be “born as if out of the void”. Or should we take up the view of Che Guevara for whom “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.”

I would consider the second view and ask: What is the revolution that “we make fall”? How can we direct IPE research towards maturation? Where do we start?


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