Health care practice is as varied as the patients we care about. Not only do we engage in clinical practice, but some of us also conduct educational research, while others experiment and innovate as clinicians, researchers, and health policy makers. To keep up with evolving knowledge, we must also continually ramp up new care processes and technologies, learn new skills, and enhance efficiency. I’m often reminded of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass where Red Queen tells Alice: “it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” The truth of the matter is that change is constant and we are always going somewhere else. Running twice as fast is not an option.
I see two implications for the Journal of Research in Interprofessional Practice and Education (JRIPE). One is that JRIPE must be as diversified as the daily work of its readers. So, we will expand our readership and encourage publication for a diverse audience about the science of interprofessional education and what it can do to improve health care delivery, workforce policy, workplace and community-based education, interprofessional clinical and educational models, international issues in interprofessional education, the list goes on…
Second, JRIPE cannot stop at increasing access to refined versions of research. Published research is only the tip of an iceberg in an ocean of uncertainty. In the midst of all the humming and the buzzing of everyday practice, there is that complex and beautiful puzzle, if not mystery: somehow, somewhere, between people, there is a capillary force that attracts and sometimes holds participants together in spite of their varied disciplinary boundaries, professional self-interests, identities, goals, knowledge, values, cultures, and differential access to resources. Getting to the parts of that puzzle, and getting them right, takes more than what a polished manuscript can tell.
Much of the fun and not so fun parts of research are in the “war stories” that defy neat categorizations and simple linear equations: the false starts, the frustrations with messy, confusing problems of everyday practice that go into collecting data and getting it ready for analysis; the adjustments, the changes, the improvisations, the muddling through; all the juicy stuff that goes into negotiating with insufficient information, experimenting, failing, and trying again.
The best way to get at those “war stories”, and the practical know-how behind them, is through conversations and the sharing of narratives among professionals. And so we need to open discussions about what went into the making of research no matter how big or small its purview. This is an action we can take immediately through IPELOG.
IPELOG (jripe.wordpress.com) offers a space for dialogue, knowledge sharing, and learning. We invite you to share your comments on what JRIPE publishes. Please go to http://www.jripe.org/index.php/journal/issue/view/4 to select the articles that interest you, and leave us a comment, tell us what you think, give us your opinions, share your success and failure stories, solutions to problems, and feedback about tactics and methods. Collectively, we can get our puzzles right without having to run twice as fast.