Hand-out: Moving Interprofessional Learning Beyond the Classroom

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Handout to accompany the research poster outlining lessons learned from four student placement models for clinical learning of interprofessional competencies. Presented at the 14th Ottawa Conference on the Assessment of Competence in Medicine and the Healthcare Professions in Miami, Florida, May 2010


  • Eight University of Alberta health sciences faculties collaborate to develop and deliver one elective course which provides students with practical and immersive interprofessional (IP) experience in a clinical setting. Health sciences students enhance their IP skills and knowledge by building on four IP competencies: communication, collaboration, role clarification and reflection. This course has served as a bridge from the classroom to the workplace since 1998.


    the classroomLessons learned from

    Hatch, Tara, Health Sciences Education and Research Commons King, Sharla, Health Sciences Education and Research Commons Guirguis, Lisa, Faculty of Pharmacy Hall, Mark, Department of Physical Therapy Kahlke, Renate, Health Sciences Education and Research Commons McFarlane, LuAnne, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology Mulholland, Susan, Department of Occupational Therapy Patterson, Steve, Department of Dentistry Pimlott, Jan, Department of Dental Hygiene Sommerfeldt, Susan, Faculty of Nursing

    Interprofessional learning beyond

    four student placement models

    Conclusions: 1. Careful student selection, opportunities

    for student peer contact, as well as clearly defined course activities and objectives which facilitate mutual understanding between students, sites and instructors are necessary foundations for safe and successful placements

    2. Student engagement is enhanced through access to patients, practising professionals and applicable projects will cultivate real and relevant learning experiences

    3. Site culture which fosters reflective practice facilitates the ability of students to explore team processes

    4. Offering a mutual learning opportunity and project products that benefit preceptors, sites and patients maintains university commitment to community engagement

    5. One size does not fit all: different models are needed to meet needs of students, varying academic programs and sites and to ensure sustainability

    Further reading:Kipp, J., McKim, B., Zieber, C., and Newman, I. (2006). What motivates managers to co-ordinate the learning experience of interprofessional students teams in service delivery settings? Healthcare Management Forum, Summer, 32-38.

    Kipp, J., Pimlott, J.F., and Satzinger, F. (2007) Universities preparing health professionals for the 21st century: Can something new come out of the traditional establishment? Journal of Interprofessional Care, 21(6), 633-644.

    Philippon, D.J., Pimlott, J.F., King, S., Day, R.A., Cox, C. (2005) Preparing health science students to be effective health care team members: The InterProfessional Initiative at the University of Alberta. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 19(3), 195-206.

    Acknowledgements:The authors would like to thank the staff, patient mentors, and sites for their support of students in the course. We would also like to acknowledge Cynthia Strawson-Fawcett for her help and support designing the poster for optimum knowledge translation.

    Health Sciences Education and Research Commons Health Sciences CouncilUniversity of Alberta218 TELUS Centre87 Avenue & 111 StreetEdmonton, ABCanada T6G 2R1



    Poster presented at the 14th Ottawa Conference on the Assessment of Competence in Medicine and the Healthcare Professions, May 2010

    Going forward: Need to explore ways to integrate IP learning into existing clinical experience to increase availability of this experience to students

  • Common Benefits: Students focus solely on IP in a clinical setting as not

    distracted by clinical demands of discipline specific practicum

    Students learn about other professions in real world setting

    Students observe challenge of maintaining reflective practice given clinical demands; success in course motivates students to develop reflective habit of mind

    Students are empowered to provide high stakes feedback

    Students are engaged in their education through real world experience, knowledge exchange with site and in construction of tools that are integrated into team practice and patient care

    Small successes build confidence for student and team with respect to future change

    Common Challenges: High stakes nature of coursework requires intentional

    process of contracting with sites to ensure clarity of and openness to coursework and process

    Students may not see change while on site; change may continue after placement

    Students may focus on task at the expense of process

    Due to credit/no credit nature of course, effort and achievement not reflected in GPA

    Difficult to assess IP skills and attitudes

    Coordinating student peer learning is logistically challenging given asynchronous nature of placements

    Difficult to accommodate this elective in various programs - of all participants come from only 3 of 11 disciplines

    PEER TEAMStudent teams on uniprofessional placements at a common site: determine the appropriate assessment and intervention for at

    least 2 patients, or complete a project which addresses a systemic issue

    Benefit: and students with greater diversity in skill level

    Challenge: Scheduling is logistically challenging as discipline specific practica occur asynchronously

    Able to accommodate more students, more disciplines

    PATIENT AS MENTORIndividual student accompanies a chronically ill patient as the patient engages with their complex healthcare network. The student provides formal feedback to the patient and care network based on observations.Benefit: Unique patient-centred perspective for students Benefit: Patients and informal caregivers empowered as they illuminate system issues to students and professionalsBenefit: Complexity of patients provides a rich learning opportunityChallenge: Mortality / morbidity of patient mentors presents ethical concerns and limits sustainability Challenge: Increased complexity in preparation of health workers in the system that the student and patient mentor navigate

    STUDENT AS CATALYSTIndividual student joins an existing IP team at their practice site to

    act as a catalyst to engage that team in reflecting on their IP practice and processes. The student completes a project and provides

    feedback on the team's processes. Benefit: Flexibility in timing of and site location for placementsBenefit: Engaging with practicing professionals provides more

    authentic learningBenefit: Sites benefit from project and insights gained from

    student initiated reflective practiceChallenge: Processes for student selection and support needed to

    mitigate student isolation, high stakes coursework and / or potential staff resistance

    Challenge: Social risk for staff related to student observation and feedback

    STUDENT AS PARTNERBuilding on the student as catalyst model, an individual

    student partners with existing IP clinical and administrative teams of an IP clinical learning unit (IPCLU) to enhance both IP

    clinical practice and IP education.Benefit: IPCLU project has fostered a culture within the site of

    inquiry and openness to change which reduces amount of preparation and support required for placement

    Benefit: Mutually beneficial: students help build IP capacity of site; strong sites improve sustainability of course

    Challenge: Limited number of sites (3) currently available to students


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