The RIPES Time is here – Piloting an inter-professional student education model

Ms Laura Page1, Mr Steve Cadell1

1Central West Rehabilitation Service, Longreach, Australia


Problem: Traditional student placement models promote discipline-specific clinical reasoning reducing exposure to skill-sharing and inter-professional practices

Setting: A rural inter-professional education and supervision program (RIPES) was piloted by the Central West Rehabilitation Service, in collaboration with the Cunningham Centre. This pilot studied the efficacy and knowledge base post execution of this innovative inter-professional education (IPE) model.

Key measures for improvement: Increased knowledge of IP scope of practice, holistic patient-centred treatment plans, improved discharge planning and cohesiveness in collaboration between students/health professionals.

Process of gathering information: Separate Clinical Educator (CE) and Student focus groups facilitated by the Cunningham Centre.

Analysis and interpretation: Identification of ceiling effect of current discipline specific student marking criteria.

Strategies for change: A standardised IPE program facilitating skill-set sharing and delegation foundations in adherence with frameworks such as the Calderdale may increase workforece readiness.

Effects of change: Improvement in comprehensive discharge planning from admission with predicted decreases in length of stay and increased patient satisfaction/clinical outcomes, increased referrals/assessments in line with skillset sharing.

Lessons learnt: The readiness for students to participate in IPE, clinical experience, maturity, university grades and the ability to work within a team were significant contributing factors to the success of the program. Future development may benefit from a review of how personality inventory indices effect inter-disciplinary team dynamics and skill-sharing. A further review into proficiency measures for tertiary students completing such a placement is warrented in order to reduce ceiling effects. Optimal lengths for consolidation of IPE and skill-sharing proficiency requires further investigation.


Steve Cadell is the Team Leader and Advanced Physiotherapist for the Central West Rehabilitation Service. Steve completed both his Bachelor of physiotherapy and graduate diploma in rehabilitation studies through James Cook University. Currently, he is working towards a research masters in the field of persistent pain specifically in relation to the treatment and management of fibromyalgia related pain. Steve’s passion for physiotherapy resides across a diverse spectrum of mental health, neurology, dementia care and persistent pain management. Steve thoroughly enjoys working in Central West Queensland and since arriving in Longreach 2017, he and his team have established an allied-health led persistent pain management clinic in combination with the current rehabilitation service which too is consolidating and expanding across the Central West Hospital and Health Service.
Steve is an active advocate for rural health and currently represents Central West Hospital and Health Service on numerous projects and steering committees inclusive of the AHPOQ Transition2subacute, Tele-handover project/collaborative and the Statewide Persistent Pain Management Steering Network. In Steve’s spare time he trains in the Thompson River and Longreach Aquatic Center in preparation for swimming the English Channel in 2020 to raise funds for rural dementia care.

Teaching and Assessment of Clinical Reasoning of Health Science Students on Clinical Placement: A Systematic Literature Review

Mrs Kathryn Fitzgerald1

1WA Centre For Rural Health, Geraldton, Australia


The aim of this study was to examine how health science students develop clinical reasoning skills whilst on clinical placements, and how this learning is assessed.

A systematic literature review was undertaken centred on teaching and assessing clinical reasoning for health science students while undertaking a clinical placement. After a preliminary screen, 137 articles were critically appraised and 23 articles were included for further detailed analysis.

Key results will be presented describing models of clinical reasoning, and how these can be used as a foundation for teaching and assessment. Several themes were identified focusing on teaching, including experiential learning, narrative approaches, prompts and questions, and visual systems. An integrated model of clinical reasoning will be discussed. There was limited evidence linking assessment of clinical reasoning to clinical placement outcomes.

The results will be discussed in relation to teaching and assessment of clinical reasoning when students are on rural clinical placements.  Having a shared understanding of clinical reasoning models and access to quality teaching of clinical reasoning, will enhance students’ ability to become effective and competent rural clinicians. Best practice methods for teaching clinical reasoning in rural placements may be through multidisciplinary approaches reflecting current models of interprofessional practice and assessment of clinical reasoning should be linked to students’ overall assessment of clinical performance when on clinical placement.


Kathryn Fitzgerald has worked in rural and remote areas as an  Allied Health professional in clinical practice,  in policy and program development and in health professions’ education for over 30 years, and has been involved with SARRAH since the organisation’s early days. She currently works as the Clinical Education Manager for the WA Centre for Rural Health based in the Midwest of Western Australia.

Interprofessional learning using escape rooms

A/Prof. Narelle Campbell1, Ms Leigh Moore1

1Flinders NT, Darwin, Australia


Aims: This workshop will introduce participants to escape rooms as an interprofessional learning activity, facilitate their participation in a healthcare escape room, and provide opportunity to analyse and capitalise on the learning potential of escape rooms.
Escape rooms are a purposeful physical adventure game where teams use clues and strategy to solve a series of puzzles and thus ‘escape’. Mindful of the ever-changing landscape in remote regions’ placement capacity, and inspired by the team-building and problem-solving involved in escape rooms, we are exploring the potential of this platform as a novel, inter-professional, educational resource for students.

Methods: In this workshop we will explain the phenomenon of escape rooms, present our literature findings on the use of escape rooms to promote learning, and explain our research design process and multi-pronged strategy (high school engagement; health professional student placement learning). Attendees will then participate in our healthcare escape room scenario ‘Nanna’s nightmare’.

Discussion / recommendations :Following the scenario, we will invite participant feedback and discussion. This section will focus on the perceived value of the experience for health professional placement students. This will include harnessing the attendees ideas on possible interprofessional learning objectives, key learning for specific professions, and how to design sustainable remote and rural placement programs that provide quality interprofessional learning.


Narelle is a speech pathologist by background with an academic career that has spanned medicine, nursing and allied health. Her current role is heading up the FlindersNT RIPPL (Remote and Rural Interprofessional Placement Learning) team. This involves working with a group of fabulous academics who are zealous in helping students and supervisors succeed in remote placements that offer quality learning. In order to contribute solutions to the recruitment and retention issues in the remote workforce, Narelle’s PhD investigated the personality traits of remote allied health professionals. She lives in Darwin.
Leigh works as an academic with FlindersNT in developing placements and supporting the workforce in allied health and nursing. She is a community pharmacist who has worked in rural and remote areas of NSW and the Northern Territory. Her involvement in education of medical and pharmacy students started in 2007. She has also held roles with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Asthma Foundation of the NT. Leigh is particularly interested in interprofessional education, rural/remote practice and research to benefit communities and practitioners.

Preparing for the interprofessional landscape: a program facilitating collaboration between physiotherapy and radiography students.

Ms Lani De Silva1, Dr Luke Wakely1, Associate Professor Leanne Brown1, Mrs Alexandra Little1, Mrs Emma Cooper1,2, Ms Jane Fern1

1University Of Newcastle Department Of Rural Health, Tamworth, Australia, 2Hunter New England Local Health District, Tamworth, Australia


Introduction/background:Based on a framework of interprofessional education (IPE) competency, a program of opportunities was developed to prepare collaboration-ready graduates. The Educating for Collaborative Healthcare Opportunities (ECHO) program, developed by the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health, fosters practitioner readiness through an evolving range of IPE strategies. One strategy of interprofessional shadowing and collaboration was developed for physiotherapy and diagnostic radiography students on a rural clinical placement. The ECHO program aimed to enhance students understanding of another professional role and develop interprofessional skills useful for collaborative clinical practice.

Method:The program involved a half-day of interprofessional shadowing for physiotherapy and radiography students. This was followed by supervisor facilitated collaboration in the care of patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) where clinical input was required from both professions. Students of both disciplines participated in pre and post written reflection and evaluation regarding the program. Their written responses were thematically analysed.

Results/Outcomes:Physiotherapy and radiography students completed the program across two placement cohorts. Students reported gaining new perspectives and a deeper understanding of each other’s profession. Furthermore, gaining a greater appreciation of the patient experience in the ED allowed them to modify and adapt their own professional behaviours in order to work in a more collaborative manner.

Discussion/Recommendations:Students felt that this was a valuable learning activity that fostered the development of interprofessional skills useful for clinical practice. Future programs are planned to run over a longer duration and include other professions.


Lani De Silva is an Associate Lecturer in Emergency Department/Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy at The University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health, Tamworth. She is involved in the clinical supervision of physiotherapy students in the Emergency Department of Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital, the coordination and support of physiotherapy placements in Armidale, and the interprofessional teaching of medical and allied health students and staff. She spent six years working in the NT, including one year working as a physiotherapist in remote indigenous communities, and is very passionate about remote and rural healthcare, education and outcomes.

Interprofessional education: an allied health graduate case study in the Northern Territory

Mrs Prasha Sooful1, Ms Justine Williams1, Ms Renae Moore1

1Top End Health Service, Tiwi, Australia


Entry into the workforce can be challenging and complex to navigate, particularly for allied health graduates. Formal, structured allied health graduate programs in the Northern Territory are limited and are typically discipline specific. Discipline specific graduate programs typically focus on clinical skill sets. The Top End of the Northern Territory is unique in that a large number of allied health professionals work within integrated multi-disciplinary teams within particular programs for example mental health care or they hold sole positions within regional settings. There is a need to support graduates and early career staff within a diverse and large health service by developing and encouraging inter-professional practice, as well as reflective and critical thinking skills. This poster outlines a pilot inter-professional allied health graduate program trialled in the Northern Territory Top End; including the program development, implementation and outcomes from the inter-professional educational and learning archetype. Research from within Australia and internationally has demonstrated that preparing allied health professionals for interprofessional practice helped facilitate collaboration and partnerships among different professions. This in turn improved quality of patient health care outcomes. The poster describes how inter-professional learning and education in the form of a structured graduate program impacted on perceptions of staff and implementation of inter-professional practice moving forward. Allied health professionals are an integral part of a health service and by fostering inter-professional practice early on it can better prepare new employees to advance in their clinical work confidently and collaboratively.

Keywords: allied health, graduates, early career, inter-professional learning, Northern Territory


Justine Williams is an Occupational Therapist by background. She has worked clinically and in management over the last 28 years. Currently she is the Allied Health Workforce Development Officer for Top End Health Service. Justine is presenting this poster on behalf of the TEHS Allied Health Directorate.

Examining the influences on Professional identity development in Allied Health students during placement in a rural and regional health service

Mrs Linda Furness1,2,3, Dr Anna Tynan1,2,4, Dr Jenny  Ostini2

1Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service, Toowoomba, Australia, 2University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia, 3Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia, 4The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia


Background: Clinical placements provide student health professionals with diverse learning opportunities and support the development of their professional identity.  The purpose of this study was to examine influences on development of professional identity in Allied Health (AH) students undertaking clinical placements in a rural and regional health service.

Methods: A qualitative study comprising review of placement orientation documents and focus group discussions with Clinical Education Support Officers, Clinical Educators and Professional Directors for the health service, and AH students was conducted using thematic analysis.  This study formed the basis for an ongoing research project examining the development of professional identity within AH in a rural setting.

Results: Both inclusive and exclusive language were used in documents. Students were referred to implicitly as workers, and part of the healthcare team as part of the process of developing professional identity. Five key themes emerged from the focus groups: influence of Clinical Educators; contact with members of students’ own profession; contact with other professionals; contact with patients and families; and the health service context in which the AH student was placed.

Conclusion: This study provides strategies for supporting the development of students’ professional identity during placements.  These include: development of health service culture supporting student education, socialisation and inclusion; and encouraging teams to support students’ experience of consolidating their own role and understanding of how it fits within the team.  Implementation of such strategies is critical for the education of AH professionals who will service regional and rural locations.


Linda graduated as an occupational therapist in 1989, and since that time has worked in rural and regional service delivery. She has worked in a number of clinical, case management, management and education roles.

Linda is currently employed as a Clinical Education Support Officer within the Occupational Therapy Clinical Education Program (OTCEP) – a program aimed at supporting the clinical education of pre-entry occupational therapy students and new graduates in Queensland Health Hospital and Health service facilities. She supports two rural Hospital and Health Services. Linda has a passion for supporting students and new graduates in rural practice experiences.

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