The Role of Interprofessional Learning in Developing Transformative Health & Social Work Professionals
Interprofessional learning (IPL) is an integral part of all health and social care undergraduate education programmes at our university. It is widely considered that IPL encourages health and social care students to learn from and about one another and that this process underpins a better understanding not only of their own professional roles but also those of others. This in turn promotes more effective teamwork, enhances integrated service user pathways and therefore provides improved care for service users. IPL is transformative as it enables students to consider their role in the interprofessional team rather than focussing on themselves (Schmitt et al., 2011).
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the experience of delivering IPL at our university by using examples from our modules in order to highlight and debate the importance of IPL in preparing health and social care students for their professional roles.
The article will describe two IPL modules where students work in interprofessional groups exploring and discussing practice-based case studies. All of the staff and students involved completed a feedback questionnaire which evaluated their experiences of undertaking the case study exercise. The impact of these experiences will be discussed in terms of professional development for the students involved and the impact that these learning experiences have on their future roles. We will argue that these IPL experiences allow students to develop their own professional roles and identity, understand the roles of others and are enabled to provide more holistic care for service users.
We believe that working together in interprofessional groups to look at practice-based service user case studies is transformative in that it enables the students to learn from and about other professionals, it equips them with knowledge about one another’s roles and enables them to work together more effectively with other members of the interprofessional team (CAIPE, 2008). This in turn enables the students to work together for the good of their service users and thereby becoming more compassionate and person-centred professionals.
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