Simulated interprofessional learning activities for rural health care services: perceptions of health care students.

Research paper by Selina S Taylor, Yaqoot Y Fatima, Navaratnam N Lakshman, Helen H Roberts

Indexed on: 08 Jul '17Published on: 08 Jul '17Published in: Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare


The literature on interprofessional learning (IPL) has limited empirical evidence on the impact of simulated IPL sessions in promoting collaborative health care services in rural settings. This study aims to explore health care students' perception of the relevance of simulated IPL for rural health care services.Three focus group interviews were held with pre-registration medical, pharmacy, and allied health students (n=22). Students worked together to manage complex simulation scenarios in small interprofessional teams. Focus group sessions were held at the end of simulation activities to explore students' views on the relevance of simulated IPL activities. Thematic analysis was undertaken on the qualitative data obtained from the focus groups.Participants embraced both the interprofessional and the simulation components enthusiastically and perceived these to be useful for their future as rural health care practitioners. Four major themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: appreciation of the role of other health disciplines, collaborative approach to patient care, competency and skills for future health care practice, and relevance for future rural and remote health care practice. Students acknowledged the simulated IPL sessions for improving their understanding of multidisciplinary practice in rural practice and facilitating the appreciation for collaborative practice and expertise.Based on the findings of this study, simulated IPL activities seem to be a potential intervention for developing collaborative practice among pre-registration health profession students. However, further evidence is required to assess if positive responses to simulated IPL activities are sustained in practice and translate into improving patient outcome.