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Celebrating multidisciplinary practice and learning: three years evaluation of an undergraduate interprofessional rural health education pilot


Spencer, J and Woodroffe, J, Celebrating multidisciplinary practice and learning: three years evaluation of an undergraduate interprofessional rural health education pilot, Proceedings of the 11th National Rural Health Conference, 13-16 March 2011, Perth, Western Australia, pp. 1-11. ISBN 9781921219207 (2011) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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Attending to the shortage and sustainability of health care professionals and resources in rural Australia is a continuing challenge. In response, there is a heightened focus on new models of health care delivery and collaboration that optimise the quality of patient care, respond to complex health needs and increase professional job satisfaction. Interprofessional health education within universities has been proposed as one way of addressing these challenges to ensure the delivery of effective multidisciplinary health care by future health professionals. The Rural Interprofessional Program Educational Retreat (RIPPER) uses interprofessional learning and a variety of educational strategies to prepare final year nursing, medical and pharmacy students for effective multidisciplinary rural health care delivery. RIPPER is an educational pilot module designed to expose undergraduate health science students to a number of rural emergency and acute health care situations. Using interactive high and low fidelity simulation, students work collaboratively in multidisciplinary teams to attend to the immediate management of the health care issue, develop management algorithms and consider strategies for prevention and patient aftercare in the rural context. The project was evaluated using a mixed method design to evaluate student learning outcomes and perceptions of interprofessional practice in the rural context. Over three years, the RIPPER pilot provided students (n=90) with the opportunity to learn about working as a member of an interprofessional team using authentic and relevant situational learning for clinical and professional knowledge and skill building. Results from the programfs mixed methods evaluation indicated that RIPPER is an effective model, and that exposure of health care students to interprofessional education can positively affect their perceptions of collaboration, team work and multidisciplinary patient care. The evaluation also points to the rural context as an ideal place to showcase elements of effective interprofessional practice for effective multidisciplinary care. A collaborative multidisciplinary clinical culture is imperative for the promotion of a more satisfied rural health workforce and to ensure optimal patient outcomes. Health educators are powerfully positioned to develop curricula that emphasise the delivery of interprofessional health care. However, there are numerous barriers that make this a difficult task. This paper will discuss the program evaluation with a focus on enablers and barriers, and future directions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:multidisciplinary practice, interprofessional learning, rural health
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Specialist studies in education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Spencer, J (Ms Judy Spencer)
UTAS Author:Woodroffe, J (Dr Jessica Woodroffe)
ID Code:72102
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2011-08-22
Last Modified:2017-11-06
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