Interprofessional education in the U.S. military: harnessing simulation for team readiness

Lara Varpio, Karlen Bader Larsen*, Meghan Hamwey, Kevin Semelrath, Elise Paradis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Research into military interprofessional healthcare teams (MIHTs) is rarely reported in the interprofessional literature. MIHTs must effectively collaborate in the low resource and chaotic contexts of humanitarian and combat deployments; however, we have yet to study how MIHTs learn to work in these contexts. To address this gap, we investigated military interprofessional education (MIPE). Using an ethnographic approach, we conducted non-participant observations (n = 30.5 hours) of a specific platoon (n = 32 participants) during an MIPE simulation called Operation Bushmaster–a large-scale immersive simulation of battlefield deployment. Findings indicated three aspects of MIPE: (1) a culture where flailing isn’t failing; (2) the importance of followership; and (3) an interprofessional respect fostered by role adoption. Considering these findings through Dweck’s fixed vs growth mind-set conceptualization, we suggest that–although unusual when compared with traditional IPE–MIPE’s teaching and learning methods provide developmental opportunities for team members. We also suggest why Dweck’s mind-set conceptualizations could be usefully extended from an individual-focus to also include a collaborative-team-focus. We contend that the findings developed from this research could be transferred to civilian contexts so that the lessons learned by those who serve on the war front could inform those who serve at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Interprofessional education
  • ethnography
  • healthcare
  • military
  • simulation


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