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Source: Massey University

Massey University and University of Otago students took part in a collaborative interprofessional learning programme, with support from Palmerston North’s Arohanui Hospice and MidCentral District Health Board clinicians and clinical educators.

Bachelor of Nursing students have experienced some first-hand learnings with real patients in recent days, after attending a collaborative interprofessional education learning programme, alongside students from the University of Otago.

This is the third year the programme has been run at Palmerston North Hospital, and the second year that Manawatu-based nursing students, who are near completion of their degrees, are among the diverse group of professions taking part.

Participants also included medical trainee interns, physiotherapists, dietitians and radiotherapy students, with the support of clinical faculty from nursing, palliative medicine, medicine, radiation therapy and physical therapy.

From left: Third-year Massey University Bachelor of Nursing students Courtney Pillar, Clara Whittingham, Lorna Ryland and Georgia Graham.

Powerful learning opportunity

Marla Burrow, a lecturer from the School of Nursing, says students are placed in small interprofessional teams and undertake a real-patient collaborative exercise in a clinical workplace setting. “In this case, the teams conducted patient interviews with the aim of obtaining a greater understanding of the person’s experiences with their health condition through the healthcare system,” Ms Burrow says. “It’s through these patient-based learning experiences that the students have the opportunity to gain perspectives from the other professions.

“This is a powerful learning opportunity that fosters interprofessional information and knowledge sharing behaviours that encourage the teamwork that we expect our practising clinicians to be engaged in.”

She says the experience is designed to occur in short-bursts that centre around patients in a clinical care setting. “There is a tremendous effort from the clinical faculty to identify key times in the year where the students from so many programmes and disciplines are naturally present as a result of their clinical rotation schedules. While one offering may not capture the availability of all students, this approach provides the flexibility to consider additional offerings that align with other natural groupings of students.”

Consumers of health care services have an expectation that clinicians will work in professional collaborative teams, Ms Burrow says, but there are limited opportunities for this to occur before students enter the workforce. “Our ongoing evaluative research for this experience has already demonstrated positive benefits to both the students, staff and faculty that take part in the programme, and we look forward to continuing this initiative in the years to come.”

The curriculum is in its third year and is unique in that it is part of a multi-institutional effort. This year Palmerston North’s Arohanui Hospice as well as Massey, University of Otago and MidCentral District Health Board clinicians and clinical educators took part.

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