Ewing, A. and Ridge, J. (2008) A transferable model of interprofessional learning in complex primary care. Paper presented to: Learning and Teaching Conference 2008, University of Northampton, 14 May 2008.
Interprofessional and collaborative working are not new concepts however in recent years there has been a significant new policy emphasis on improving collaborative practices (DoH 2006). The emphasis of improved collaborative working is primarily to improve the experiences of patients however it is also acknowledged that effective interprofessional collaboration also improves personal and professional confidence and can increase job satisfaction (Lumage et al 2006). Undergraduate health and social care students at the University of Northampton engage in interprofessional learning throughout their professional education. To meet curriculum requirements and resource issues students have mostly engaged in university focussed interprofessional learning. While this can provide acceptable introduction to understanding different people’s roles and collaborative practice issues, it is more difficult to simulate the service provider and the patients experience of interprofessional working in health and social care for more advanced learning. In May 2007 a pilot of interprofessional learning took place with students and educators from the university working with patients and staff of a local primary care practice who specialise in working with people with complex needs. All who participated in this pilot contributed an evaluation of the experience from their perspective. This pilot has emphasised the value of interprofessional learning opportunities in the workplace with a collaborative approach improving the undergraduate student experience. This collaborative approach to undergraduate interprofessional learning also potentially offers foundations for postgraduate interprofessional learning and practice continuing beyond undergraduate study into continuing professional development (Barr and Ross 2006).