Interprofessional Education in the Health Workplace

  • Elizabeth Katherine MolloyEmail author
  • Louise Greenstock
  • Patrick Fiddes
  • Catriona Fraser
  • Peter Brooks
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Interprofessional education has served as a long-standing topic of interest in the health professions education community, mainly because of its reported capacity to develop the learner’s disposition for team-based practice. This chapter synthesises the findings from the health professional literature and focuses specifically on the impact of interprofessional education on students within clinical placements. The review sets the scene for the reporting of an empirical study conducted by the authors, examining medical students’ experiences of an interprofessional education placement. Medical students who rotated through the targeted interprofessional placement were interviewed via focus groups to elicit their experiences of the initiative. Their perspectives on how the context and the activities within the placement influenced their ability to learn ‘with, from and about’ other professionals were captured and analysed. Only a small percentage of participants reported that the workplace environment adequately supported opportunities for engagement with other professionals. The medical students, while able to voice the advantages of interprofessional practice “once they become” a practitioner, saw the agenda as relatively low on their priority list as busy students, subject to regular assessments of their ‘doctoring’ competencies. The results challenge the cheerfully optimistic literature on interprofessional education. It may be useful to acknowledge the resistance learners have in learning about other professions or disciplines when they have a fixed target of professional membership in sight. Undergraduate students seem to make judgements about what is important to learn, and who are the most legitimate models to learn from, very early in their curriculum. Students look to summative assessment as a key device to help differentiate the core from the peripheral within their program of study.


Interprofessional education Interprofessional practice Workplace learning Health professions Curriculum design 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Katherine Molloy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Louise Greenstock
    • 2
  • Patrick Fiddes
    • 3
  • Catriona Fraser
    • 4
  • Peter Brooks
    • 4
  1. 1.Health Professions Education and Educational Research (HealthPEER) Department, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health SciencesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Health Workforce InstituteUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health SciencesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Australian Health Workforce InstituteUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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