Increasing Opportunities for Collaborative Learning in Interdisciplinary Tteams

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In the health care workplace professionals come from different disciplines. Their education has typically been discipline specific and they have been socialised to adopt the health care worldview characteristic of their profession. Yet when they become part of the health workforce they are expected to automatically be collaborative in their practice and provide integrated and cohesive care. This is often problematic as there will be differences and often opposing views and as students they have rarely, if ever, had the opportunity to examine the different practice areas and their roles and values. Nor have many been provided within their professional programs with the opportunities to reflect on collaborative practice and communication/teamwork skills. Different professionals require opportunities to learn about the disciplines of others, their backgrounds their training and their different perspectives.
In a learning environment cognisant of this, social processes need to be facilitated where students can correct each other and their own biases and false assumptions. Students need to be able to view the patient’s problems and possible solutions to them, in the context of an interprofessional framework as this is the reality of the workplace context. Historically when the opportunity has been provided it has been scant and rudimentary.
This paper reports on a study of students in an interprofessional post graduate program in diabetes education and management and the challenges presented by their responses. It suggests strategies to improve opportunities for collaborative learning of an interprofessional nature.


Keywords: Interdisciplinary Learning, Collaborative Practice
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Sue Dean

Course Coordinator, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, The University of Technology Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sue Dean has had an interest in interdisciplinary studies having completed one of the the first interdisciplinary masters degree at an Australian university 20 years ago. She currently coordinates an interdisciplinary graduate program in diabetes education and management at the University of Technology Sydney where students are drawn from different professional groups such as medicine, pharmacy, nursing, nutrition and podiatry. This creates many challenges for collaborative learning of an interdisciplinary nature.

Ref: I08P0932