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.

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