Preparing students for health and social care practice through inter-professional learning

Turpin, Merrill and Lynch, Deborah and Spermon, Deborah and Steel, Emily J (2015) Preparing students for health and social care practice through inter-professional learning. In: 38th Annual Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Conference (HERDSA 2015): Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World, 6-9 July 2015, Melbourne, Australia.


It is well accepted that health and social care professionals work under conditions of complexity and uncertainty. This reality shapes the education of students, which aims to equip them for such practice. Part of this complexity arises from having to work with others from a range of other health professions, often with very different professional assumptions about ‘health’ and how health and social care should be provided. The research described in this paper pertains to a compulsory course for second–year occupational therapy and social work students. Located early in their programs, before substantial experience in practice contexts, the course aims to increase students’ readiness for interprofessional practice through both content and learning together. Action Research (AR), a well-established methodology for enhancing quality in learning and teaching, was used to make and evaluate systematic changes to the course. Through two AR cycles, we first gained an understanding of students’ preparedness for interprofessional learning using established scales and then used open-ended questions to elicit their experiences of learning together. We found that explicitly using three models of health provided an important scaffolding for promoting students’ identity formation as occupational therapists or social workers, in that it helped them to locate themselves and other profession with whom they might work. Strengthening students’ professional identity and understanding of the perspectives of other health professionals, as well as understanding health as a complex concept, is important for preparing them for the complexity and uncertainty that arises from working with other health professionals.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 33606
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright © 2015 HERDSA and the authors. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act, 2005, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms and licenses issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers at the address above.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 01:06
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2019 06:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: Interprofessional learning, interprofessional education, preparing students for complexity of practice, scaffolding learning
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130209 Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services)

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only