Interprofessional collaboration is a complex process that has the potential to transform patient care for the better in urban, rural and remote healthcare settings. Simulation has been found to improve participants' interprofessional competencies, but the mechanisms by which interprofessionalism is learned have yet to be understood. A rural wilderness medicine conference (WildER Med) in northern Ontario, Canada with simulated medical scenarios has been demonstrated to be effective in improving participants' collaboration without formal interprofessional education (IPE) curriculum.
Interprofessionalism may be taught through rural and remote medical simulation, as done in WildER Med where participants' interprofessional competencies improved without any formal IPE curriculum. This learning may be attributed to the informal and hidden curriculum. Understanding the mechanism by which this rural educational experience contributed to participants' learning to collaborate requires insight into the events before, during and after the simulations. The authors drew upon feedback from facilitators and patient actors in one-on-one interviews to develop a grounded theory for how collaboration is taught and learned.
Sharing emerged as the core concept of a grounded theory to explain how team members acquired interprofessional collaboration competencies. Sharing was enacted through the strategies of developing common goals, sharing leadership, and developing mutual respect and understanding. Further analysis of the data and literature suggests that the social wilderness environment was foundational in enabling sharing to occur. Medical simulations in other rural and remote settings may offer an environment conducive to collaboration and be effective in teaching collaboration. When designing interprofessional education, health educators should consider using emergency response teams or rural community health teams to optimize the informal and hidden curriculum contributing to interprofessional learning.