The West Coast Interprofessional Education Programme (Te Hōtaka Mātauranga Whatu Ngaio o Te Tai Poutini) began in March 2021 and runs in five rotational blocks of five weeks throughout the year, with up to ten students in each block. The programme brings final year students from a range of health disciplines together to learn about, with and from, each other while gaining clinical experience in rural New Zealand. They spend their time on placements within their own discipline; with other disciplines, in group activities and on projects. In addition, the students live in shared accommodation so there are opportunities for opportunistic interprofessional learning.
The programme builds on a similar IPE programme, which has run successfully in Tairāwhiti for the last 10 years. We are delighted that the Ministry of Health/Health New Zealand agreed to fund this programme in Greymouth which runs closely in conjunction with the Tairāwhiti IPE programme.
The West Coast Interprofessional Education (IPE) Programme is administered by the University of Otago.Students enjoy clinical placements in both West Coast DHB sites and with private providers on the Coast. The following tertiary education institutions send students from a total of eleven health professional degree programmes:
- University of Otago – Dentistry, Medicine, Oral Health, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Social Work
- Auckland University of Technology (AUT) – Paramedicine
- University of Auckland – Dietetics
- Otago Polytechnic – Occupational Therapy
- Canterbury University – Speech Language Therapy
- Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, trading as Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) & Ara Institute of Technology (Ara) – Nursing
Key learning objectives incorporate principles of rural health care, Hauora Māori, long term condition management and interprofessional health care. Students also meet discipline specific clinical learning objectives
Interprofessional health care
The focus is on growing greater understanding between health disciplines about “patient centred collaborative practice, effective teamwork, interprofessional respect and how to negotiate and resolve disagreement.”
While on the Coast the students spend time at Arahura marae learning about parts of the Māori history in and around Arahura Marae in Arahura. Discussions around the disparities that Māori encounter around maintaining overall Hauora (wellbeing) in today’s society. During the programme the students reflect on their noho marae experience to gain a deeper appreciation of the learnings. In addition, they learn about models of Māori health and how to use them when developing patient centred management plans, such as Whare Tapa Whā.
The students spend five weeks embedded in a rural community in terms of both their clinical placements, their free time and with the IPE team exploring different aspects of the Coast outside of Greymouth and Hokitika. It is hoped these opportunities enhance their understanding of rural environments, the people who live there and the advantages rural living and working offer. Ultimately, we aim to better equipping senior health students for comprehensive generalist practice, whatever their profession.
Long term conditions management
The students gain insight into the challenges people face living with multiple long-term conditions in a rural environment. They gain an appreciation of how the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental determinants of health can negatively impact of their lives. They will gain an understanding of the importance of team-based collaborative care, self-management support and the role patients and their whānau play in the management of their conditions. As more people than ever before live longer and live with more long-term conditions, collaborative practice is increasingly needed.
Students live together at the Alexander Street Lodge in Greymouth for five weeks where they are encouraged to explore the surrounding area and get involved with the local community.
The programme provides and pays for one return trip for each student and the cost of the accommodation for the duration of the programme. During their time on the programme they are immersed in Māori culture at Arahura Marae, and work closely with the local people to create a project that is beneficial to the community.
The programme begins with an overnight stay (Noho Marae) at Arahura Marae, where the students are taught about the relationship of local runanga to te Tai o Poutini and to participate in whakawhanaungatanga to get to know each other and the West Coast IPE team.
Students also take part in a range of activities during the course of the five weeks. These can vary but can include a visit to a remote dairy farm to learn about the challenges faced by farmers in maintaining their health and wellbeing; visits to various small businesses like local apiaries to understand the significance of these to local economies; the opportunity to walk various local trails and visit scenic sites. Students are also receive guidance from the local team about a variety opportunities available to them during their weekends.
- Block 1 - 5 March to 6 April
- Block 2 - 30 April to 2 June
- Block 3 - 25 June to 28 July
- Block 4 - 13 August to 15 September
- Block 5 - 1 October to 3 November