Working alone, we can sometimes miss the collaboration that comes with being part of a team - people to bounce ideas off of, or solve complex problems with. You may have had a client with a complex case that required treatment outside your area of expertise, and struggled to know where to refer them to. Multi-disciplinary care is when healthcare and wellbeing professionals from different disciplines, work together with a client to provide complete, holistic care. Each individual practitioner adds their own unique expertise to the team to improve the overall quality of care delivered, in order to meet the individual needs of a patient.
You might have been part of a multi-disciplinary team before, but as a solo practitioner it’s a little trickier – you don’t have a ready-made team to collaborate with!
But building a network of peers to collaborate with can be hugely beneficial for you and your clients. Let’s take a look at the benefits of peer collaboration as a solo practitioner, and the steps you can take to build yours.
Why you should be part of a multi-disciplinary network
1. Collaboration: collaboration between peers in different fields can lead to more effective treatment and better outcomes for your client.
2. Professional development: multi-disciplinary networks can provide a forum for you to learn and share knowledge with your peers, stay up-to-date with the latest research, treatments, and best practices.
3. Referrals: having a trusted network of peers you work with allows you to confidently refer patients for services outside of your scope of work. In turn, practitioners within your network will refer their clients to you.
4. Ethical discussion: along with your supervisor, your peer network can be a great place to turn to explore ethical questions and cases that may arise from complex patient cases.
5. Client outcome: being able to provide comprehensive care to your clients, increases the likelihood that they will stay with you and achieve a successful outcome. If you have ever lost track of a client after referring them out, a multi-disciplinary network is a great way to prevent that and stay involved.
6. Support: being a part group of peers with some shared experiences, can provide an excellent support network and give you a sense of community – especially important when you’re working alone.
How you can build a multi-disciplinary network
1. Conferences & events: these are an excellent opportunity to meet and connect with other health and wellness professionals. Look out for events that attended by a diverse group of practitioners, and introduce yourself!
2. Professional organisations: Joining professional societies or associations, can provide you with a built-in network of healthcare professionals. Many organisations also host events and meetings where members can connect and collaborate.
3. Social media: Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, can be a great way to connect with other healthcare professionals and build a professional network. You can use these platforms to stay in touch with colleagues, and participate in online discussions and groups. Look out for local groups for in-person meet-ups. Note: Remember that any information you share on social media is public, so it's not a safe place to discuss or ask questions about client cases.
4. Projects & research: Collaborating with other healthcare professionals on projects and research can be a great way to build relationships and establish trust. This also gives the chance to learn from each other and get exposed to different perspectives.
5. Practitioner directories: isosconnect has a multi-disciplinary directory that allows you to connect with peers at the click of a button. Sometimes, just reaching out to other professionals in your field and introducing yourself can be a great way to start building a network.
It takes time and effort to build a multi-disciplinary network of practitioners you have a good relationship with and trust, but it will be well worth it in the long run. Try to create a balanced network with professionals from different fields, ages and backgrounds. Encourage an open and non-competitive approach, which will create a positive environment for everyone. Take your time and your efforts will pay off!