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IPE at Otago

The Division of Health Sciences is currently implementing a strategy (2016-19) to develop and consolidate IPE within Health Sciences professional programmes.

The following is a sample of work already happening.

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Tairāwhiti Interprofessional Education Programme (TIPE)

IPE EOG 2015The Tairāwhiti Interprofessional Education Programme (TIPE) was developed in response to a request for proposals from Health Workforce New Zealand, with the long-term goal of increasing recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals in rural and remote locations in New Zealand.

TIPE is jointly administered by the University of Otago and Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), and includes dentistry, dietetics, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, and—more recently—occupational therapy and oral health students.

Students from each health discipline are based for five weeks in the region. They study and work together in rotational groups. Educational objectives for the programme relate to hauora Māori, rural health, interprofessional education, and chronic condition management.

The programme was initially funded for a three-year period from 2012 to 2014, with fund renewed and currently obtained up to the end of 2018.

Read more about the Tairāwhiti Interprofessional Education Programme (TIPE)

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Wellington Interprofessional Teaching Initiative (WITI)

In 2011 an interdisciplinary teaching team called the Wellington Interprofessional Teaching Initiative (WITI) formed through a common interest in providing interprofessional education. Disciplines represented in the team include:

  • Dietetics
  • Educational psychology
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Physiotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

Evaluation research has been embedded in the WITI programme, yielding peer-reviewed publications.

A central aspect of interprofessional education is facilitating opportunities for students in small groups to discuss their disciplinary backgrounds, similar and different skill sets and to consider how to jointly contribute to patient care (learning about, from, and with each other).

Stated teaching outcomes align to the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative competencies.

To date IPE has been delivered in a three-part form embedded within each discipline's curriculum, including:

  • An introductory class
  • An independently-undertaken small interdisciplinary group activity
  • A final class presentation

Classroom time typically includes a mix of social interaction, small group work, and teaching about content. In the initial class support is given to assist students to prepare to undertake a joint project.

Between 2011 and 2016 increasing numbers of dietetics, medicine, physiotherapy, and radiation therapy students have studied together about long-term conditions (LTC) management. In small interdisciplinary, groups students undertake a visit to a person in their home who has complex LTCs and then co-present to peers and visitors about the person’s experience of having LTCs and how they as a health care team can provide support.  The LTC management IPE activity is being continued in 2017, with possibilities for further developing the activity through inter-institutional collaboration to include other disciplines.

In 2016, Massey University and University of Otago Wellington worked together on a piloted  inter-university collaboration to enable Massey University nursing students to join UOW dietetics, medicine, physiotherapy, and radiation therapy students in an interdisciplinary module.

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Timaru INTERact Programme

The Timaru INTERact programme is a small IPE activity that was developed through a collaboration between South Canterbury District Health Board and University of Otago staff.

The primary objectives are to:

  • Facilitate collaborative practice between health professional students on clinical placement
  • Encourage information sharing and joint-decision making
  • Help students gain insight into the roles of different health professions
  • Help students gain insight into the benefits of collaborative practice in patient care

The programme began in 2015 - and continued in 2016 - with fourth-year physiotherapy and medical students. INTERact activities are scheduled into their clinical timetable over the course of three days during one week of their 4–6 week placement in Timaru. Learning opportunities are based on following 1–2 patients that require medical and physiotherapy input, where students are immersed in the usual activities of the clinical team in the medical ward (eg ward round, multidisciplinary team meeting, physiotherapy interventions).

In addition, students are supported in their learning by provision of a booklet that guides focus and reflection on practice in the context of their clinical experiences. On the final day of the INTERact programme, clinical staff from physiotherapy and medical disciplines engage the students in a guided debrief and reflection session on management of the patient(s), and their respective roles in the context of the clinical team.

Although this initiative is new, it is demonstrating that students gain new insights and perspectives, and see value in engaging with health professional students from more disciplines in this activity. There is potential to replicate the programme at other clinical placement sites.

We are gathering evaluations to help guide how this initiative develops.

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Southland Interdisciplinary Training Days

Joint Sim ED ShedIn Southland, one-day interdisciplinary training sessions, featuring simulated patient assessments, are being delivered to improve communication and teamwork between medical and nursing students.

Sessions began in 2015 for Trainee Interns (TIs) on clinical rotation in Southland Hospital, and Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) third-year Bachelor of Nursing and enrolled nursing students.  About eight conjoint sessions a year are held, involving approximately 30 TIs and 92 nursing students.  The sessions were developed and are supported by a team drawn from SIT, Southland Hospital and the Dunedin School of Medicine.

The training days were delivered again in 2016, including with a pilot session to involve Masters of Dietetics students on clinical placement in Southland.  It is also intended to expand the programme through related research activities.

A detailed account of the programme is available here (PDF 274 KB).

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The Longitudinal Interprofessional Study


The Longitudinal Interprofessional Study: Ben Darlow, Eileen McKinlay, Lesley Gray, Peter Gallagher, Christine Wilson, and Sue Pullon

The LIP Study is exploring health professionals' attitudes and skills related to collaborative team work and how these change over their final year of training and first three years of professional practice.  It includes practitioners from the disciplines of Dentistry, Dietetics, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy.  In 2016, the study was in its second year.

Read more about the LIP Study

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