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)

A model of multidisciplinary professional development for health professionals in rural Canterbury, New Zealand

Susan Bidwell 1 , Andrea Copeland 1
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- Author Affiliations

1 Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd, 401 Madras Street, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Susan Bidwell, Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd, PO Box 741, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand. Email: susan.bidwell@pegasus.org.nz

Journal of Primary Health Care - https://doi.org/10.1071/HC17049
Published online: 12 December 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: Pegasus Health Charitable Ltd, a Christchurch Primary Health Organisation, is contracted by the Canterbury District Health Board to provide continuing professional development for primary care practitioners in the region. Rurally located health practitioners have largely been unable to participate because of the travel time and distances involved.

AIM: The initiative reported in this paper aimed to fill this gap by developing an accessible and high-quality multidisciplinary model of professional development for general practitioners, nurse practitioners, practice nurses and community pharmacists in rural areas of North Canterbury, New Zealand.

METHODS: A survey was conducted to learn from the experiences of 14 health professionals in an existing multidisciplinary group, which had developed as a local initiative in one rural community.

RESULTS: The survey had an 86% response rate. All respondents believed the multidisciplinary format worked well, had improved collaborative working and increased the consistency of patient care. Access to professional development had improved and the meetings provided a useful forum for the mostly part-time staff to interact as a group. The main caution noted was the potential to become inward looking without being exposed to fresh ideas from other practices.

DISCUSSION: The multidisciplinary model was considered workable and valuable by the survey respondents. Based on our findings, the multidisciplinary model has been formalised by the Pegasus team responsible, and three new groups are now operating successfully in rural areas of North Canterbury.

KEYWORDS: Continuing professional development; rural


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