As a member of an interprofessional team, you will be interacting regularly with other health professionals. The overall purpose of the interprofessional component is for you to learn with, from, and about other health professionals as you apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to the health needs of individuals and the community.
Starting Your Interprofessional Learning Activities on Rural Placement
There will be a range of interprofessional learning and collaborative practice opportunities for you to be involved with during your rural placement. These will complement and enhance the discipline-specific requirements of your respective program. We encourage you to talk with your preceptors, clinical educator, facilitator/community coordinator, and other health professionals regarding how to best access and schedule interprofessional learning activities.
It is important to note that within the following outline of activities, each rural community healthcare team will be charting its own course.
- Shadowing other health professionals beyond your own discipline
- Shadowing a patient or client through the continuum of care
- Participating in interprofessional rounds
- Completing a community-based team project
- Participating in a case conference or completing a case study involves complex situation- family, community-focused, patient
The following activities will assist you in achieving your interprofessional learning objectives. Guided by your discipline-specific and interprofessional learning objectives, choose two or three of these learning activities and incorporate them into your placement.
- Reflection on an Interprofessional Education Session
- Shadowing a Patient
- Participation in a Team Meeting
IPE Structured Activities for the Practice Setting
Reflective practice is an important skill for developing as a health professional. It refers to the process of thoughtfully considering learning experiences before, during, and after they occur in order to explore a new understanding or appreciation of our thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, and actions. In order to gain the most from your rural experience, you’re encouraged to self-reflect on your placement and your time in the rural community. This will enrich and deepen your understanding of interprofessional practice, teamwork, and rural health, as well as assist you in your own discipline-specific learning.
During your placement, you may wish to consider:
- How does the rural context shape or influence my role as a health professional?
- Has this experience changed the way in which I’ll do things in the future?
Many healthcare facilities have some type of interprofessional rounds where client care is discussed. This may take the form of rounds on the wards or discharge planning. Ask if you may attend these as an observer, or as a participant if you have been involved in the care of a client as part of your placement.
Some things you may wish to think about during these meetings are:
- What information is presented about your own profession and how does it contribute to the overall care plan?
- What team member provides which information? Which information is shared, and which is profession specific?
- Can you identify the various roles among the team? Are roles and responsibilities well understood by all members? How might changing team dynamics improve patient care?
You’re encouraged to conduct a case study of a patient with a complex medical history requiring care from a number of different professionals. Consider each step of the healthcare process from assessment to diagnosis, treatment, and discharge. Interview the patient and health professionals involved in the patient’s care to understand each profession’s involvement and perspective in the care process. You may wish to establish a care plan, or consult other professionals in the care plan. Consider how the plan is or could be changed to be more collaborative and client focused.
Below are some other activities you might choose to engage in with your student peers. Consider setting up a closed/private Facebook group or Slack group, if that’s easier to connect with your colleagues. (Just remember not to discuss any specific patient/client information.) If you’re meeting weekly with your fellow students, these activities might be ideas to spark your conversations.
As part of gaining competency as a collaborative practitioner, it is important to consider how different personal styles influence team functioning. During your placement, you may or may not be part of a team of students, but you will be part of a rural healthcare team whose aim is to practice collaboratively.
Reflect on the following questions and write down your thoughts and answers.
- What has been the best experience of working on a team in the past? How do you plan to implement those ‘best of’ collaborative practice experiences during this placement?
- Healthcare teams in rural areas often experience shortages and frequent turnover. In the context of the ways in which teams develop—such as the four stages of forming, storming, norming, and performing—consider how your team skills address each stage and how you ‘show up’ as a team member.
Group Discussion Questions
Identify your usual role on a team. Are you a:
Describe why/why not and the characteristics you consider valuable for someone in that role.
Conflict resolution is another competency of an interprofessional collaborative practitioner. Take the time to consider some of the potential ways in which the features of rural practice and providing health services in rural areas might require you to draw upon your conflict resolution skills. Read through this case example below and consider your responses.
You’re on your rural community placement with four other students representing different disciplines. You’re three weeks into your six-week program and have had a tiring past couple of days. You have had to work long shifts, as your preceptor has taken extra duties to cover for the lack of health professionals in the community. Your whole team is happy that the weekend is almost here, so everyone can get some rest and be prepared to work and be engaged next week. You and the team have been invited to a Feast by the local First Nation. You all agree to go.
During the Feast, you turn to your left and see that a fellow group member of yours is on his phone, looking at Facebook, occasionally chuckling quietly as he messages a friend. You look around and see that a number of other people have noticed this behaviour and are throwing glances in the direction of your teammate, clearly distracted by his behaviour.
Take a few minutes to reflect upon your personal style.
- What would your immediate response be?
- How would you work through this situation?
Group Discussion Questions
Given the variety of different personal styles, consider the potential for conflict.
- Where do you think conflict would arise?
- How would you resolve it?