Journal of Primary Health Care Journal of Primary Health Care Society
Journal of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Building and expanding interprofessional teaching teams

Ben Darlow 1 , Eileen McKinlay 1 , Peter Gallagher 2 , Louise Beckingsale 3 , Karen Coleman 4 , Meredith Perry 5 , Sue Pullon 1
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 Department of Primary Health Care & General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

2 Education Unit, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

3 Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand

4 Department of Radiation Therapy, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

5 School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Ben Darlow, Department of Primary Health Care & General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand. Email: ben.darlow@otago.ac.nz

Journal of Primary Health Care 9(1) 29-33 https://doi.org/10.1071/HC16053
Published: 29 March 2017

Journal Compilation © Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 2017.
This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Interprofessional education (IPE) aims to prepare learners to work in collaborative health-care teams. The University of Otago, Wellington has piloted, developed and expanded an IPE programme since 2011. An interprofessional teaching team has developed alongside this programme.

AIMS: This study aimed to understand the development of a university-based interprofessional teaching team over a 4-year period and generate insights to aid the development of such teams elsewhere.

METHODS: Two semi-structured audio-recorded educator focus groups were conducted at key times in the development of the IPE programme in 2011 and 2014. The programme focused on long-term condition management and involved students from dietetics, medicine, physiotherapy and radiation therapy. Focus group transcripts were independently analysed by two researchers using Thematic Analysis to identify broad themes. Initial themes were compared, discussed and combined to form a thematic framework. The thematic framework was verified by the education team and subsequently updated and reorganised.

RESULTS: Three key themes emerged: (i) development as an interprofessional educator; (ii) developing a team; and (iii) risk and reward. Teaching in an interprofessional environment was initially daunting but confidence increased with experience. Team teaching highlighted educators’ disciplinary roles and skill sets and exposed educators to different teaching approaches. Educators perceived they modelled team development processes to students through their own development as a team. Interprofessional teaching was challenging to organise but participation was rewarding. Programme expansion increased the risks and complexity, but also acted as a stimulus for development and energised the teaching team.

DISCUSSION: Interprofessional teaching is initially challenging but ultimately enriching. Interprofessional teaching skills take time to develop and perspectives of role change over time. Educator team development is aided by commitment, understanding, enthusiasm, leadership and trust.

KEYWORDS: Interprofessional education; health professional education; faculty development; focus group; qualitative research


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