How often do students participate in interprofessional collaborative practice and interprofessional education activities during clinical placements?

Ms Susan Stoikov1, Ms Kassie Shardlow1, Mr Ross Van Der Werff2, Mrs Cate Fitzgerald1

1Metro South Health, Woolloongabba, Australia, 2Darling Downs HHS, Toowoomba, Australia

Introduction: Student participation in interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) and interprofessional education (IPE) during clinical placements provides authentic opportunities for students to learn from, with and about other professions and develop a grounding in patient-centred care. However, little is known about the frequency students participate in IPCP and IPE during clinical placements.

Methods: A retrospective survey was undertaken of physiotherapy students and other allied health (AH) students across two health services (metropolitan and regional/rural). Participants were asked to report participation frequency in eight common IPCP activities and five common IPE activities. Non-parametric testing was conducted to determine if participant groups differed in the reporting of activities. Detailed analysis of physiotherapy students was also conducted to determine whether participation in IPCP/IPE activities differed between regions and clinical areas.

Results: A total of 239 participants completed the survey; 120 physiotherapy students and 119 other AH students.  Significant differences between groups were observed. Physiotherapy students more frequently engaged in joint discharge planning (p<0.001) and shared case management (p=0.002). Other AH students more frequently engaged in case discussions (p=0.017) and work shadowing with other professions (p=0.001). Differences in both IPCP and IPE activities were evident in physiotherapy students by clinical area and region. Students on rural clinical placements participated more frequently in IPCP and IPE activities.

Conclusion: Although students were exposed to IPCP and IPE activities during clinical placements, there are opportunities to improve student participation in IPCP and IPE activities to prepare new graduates who have skills in IPCP and IPE.

Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the Directors of Physiotherapy Services Queensland ‘Clinical Education and Training Initiative’ for funding this project with support from the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland.  The authors would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the project steering committee, study sites and survey participants.


Susan is a senior physiotherapist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and has a keen interest in clinical education. Susan has recently submitted her PhD thesis identifying how students contribute during clinical placements and the transition from student to new graduate.

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