Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

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 21(1) 74-78 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY13035
Submitted: 5 March 2013  Accepted: 22 August 2013   Published: 23 September 2013

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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