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Australian Journal of Primary Health
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Collaboration across the health care and education interface: what is it like for teachers of children with traumatic brain injury?

Sarah Massey A B , Karin Fisher A C , Anne Croker A and Tony Smith A

A Department of Rural Health, University of Newcastle, Locked Bag 9783, Tamworth NEMSC, NSW 2348, Australia.
B New England Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Hunter New England Local Health District, Locked Bag 9783, Tamworth NEMSC, NSW 2348, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: Karin.Fisher@newcastle.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY13035
Submitted: 5 March 2013  Accepted: 22 August 2013   Published online: 23 September 2013


 
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Abstract

For those involved in supporting and educating children with traumatic brain injury, the interface between health care and education is complex. This paper reports the findings of a study exploring how teachers of children with traumatic brain injury experience collaboration with health-care professionals. A phenomenological approach was used to understand teachers’ experience of collaboration. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with five teachers who taught children with traumatic brain injury in a regional area of Australia. The findings revealed that the experience of collaboration for teachers is characterised by moving through three notional spaces (starting out in the interactive space, moving into a collaborative space and embracing the collaborative space). As they move through these spaces, teachers widen their self-sufficient practice horizon to develop reciprocity with health-care professionals. The findings from this study highlight a need for health-care professionals to be sensitive to, and aware of, teachers’ familiarity with interdisciplinary collaboration, issues related to knowledge differentials and time constraints.



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