Poster Presentation Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Designing learning experiences for pre-service health courses to develop interprofessional practice skills: Evaluation of a pilot curriculum implementation (#301)

Christine Armatas 1 , Roger Gabb 1 , Karen Livesay 1 , Roger Funk 1 , Christine Spratt 1
  1. Interprofessional Education Project, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

Interprofessional education for health professions is critical for ensuring graduates can work collaboratively and effectively within the health system (WHO, 2010). In 2014 Victoria University piloted of the first two stages of a three stage interprofessional curriculum for students in ten pre-service health courses. The evaluation of this pilot project aimed to determine its effectiveness in helping students to develop key interprofessional capabilities: working collaboratively and communicating effectively in interprofessional teams, understanding the roles of their own and other health professionals and being able to critically reflect on how to work collaboratively with other health professionals. A variety of delivery formats were evaluated with a view to informing full implementation of the curriculum. These included face-to-face, blended learning and fully online. Around 400 students responded to a purpose designed online survey and over 20 students and staff participated in focus groups and interviews as part of the evaluation, which also included analysis of student discussion forums. Evaluation findings indicate that the learning activities were effective in helping students to develop the desired interprofessional skills. Students agreed that the activities helped them develop these skills and staff reported that students demonstrated these skills through their behaviours in class (and online) as well as through the group task they completed. However, evaluation of the pilot highlighted the importance of competent facilitation of interprofesssional student teams in face-to-face and online settings as well as the challenges of assessing interprofesssional skills and capabilities when professions remain bound by disciplinary approaches and priorities in health care delivery. The pilot of the first two stages of the curriculum has informed the development of the final stage, where students undertake interprofessional practice collaboratively with clients in a purpose-built student-led clinic operationalised as a primary health care service in Victoria.

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

The WHO (2010) has stated that interprofessional education (IPE) is essential to the development of a “collaborative practice-ready” health workforce. Research has shown the positive impact of interprofessional practice (IP) on health-services and patient outcomes. IP practice is acquired through IPE, where students undertake learning activities to develop and practice important interprofessional capabilities. IPE essentially involves students working with members of one or more discipline to learn about, with and from each other. This submission showcases the IP curriculum at Victoria University as a developmental learning experience which culminates in a clinical practicum in an IP practice setting. It also addresses the conference sub-themes of educating graduates to be responsive and adaptable professionals as the IPE program aims to break down disciplinary silos and actively engage students learning with, from and about each other. IP capabilities that drive the curriculum include Interprofessional teamwork, Interprofessional communication, navigating Interprofessional conflict, professional roles and identities and critical reflection on Interprofessional practice.


World Health Organization. Framework for action on interprofessional education & collaborative practice. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2010. WHO/HRH/HPN/10.3.