The RIPPER Experience: A 3 Year Evaluation of an Australian Interprofessional Rural Health Education Pilot


  • Jessica Woodroffe University of Tasmania
  • Judy Spencer University of Tasmania
  • Kim Rooney
  • Quynh Le
  • Penny Allen



Interprofessional health education, Interprofessional practice, Simulation, Rural health education


Background: The Rural Interprofessional Program Educational Retreat (RIPPER) uses interprofessional learning and educational strategies to prepare final year Tasmanian nursing, medical, and pharmacy students for effective healthcare delivery. RIPPER provided students (n = 90) with the opportunity to learn about working in an interdisciplinary team using authentic and relevant situational learning. RIPPER allowed students to work and learn interprofessionally in small teams and to apply their different professional skills and knowledge to a variety of rural healthcare situations.

Methods and Findings: This article reports on three years of results from the program’s evaluation which used a pre-post test mixed method design. The findings show a significant and positive shift in students’ attitudes and understanding of interprofessional learning and practice following their participation in RIPPER. The evaluation findings suggest the need for sustainable interprofessional rural health education that is embedded in undergraduate curricula.

Conclusion: The evaluation of RIPPER suggests that exposure of healthcare students to interprofessional education can positively affect their perceptions of collaboration, patient care, and teamwork. The evaluation also points to the rural context as an ideal place to showcase elements of effective interprofessional practice.

Author Biographies

Jessica Woodroffe, University of Tasmania

Jessica Woodroffe has been the project manager and coordinator for the RIPPER pilot since its inception. Jessica has been involved in all elements of the conception, design, evaluation, data analysis and interpretation of the RIPPER project. She is the lead author on the paper as she produced the first draft of the paper and has led its successive drafts and editorial refinements and has been responsible for making sure the paper is formalised to the journal’s requirements.

Judy Spencer, University of Tasmania

Judy Spencer has been a key project member for the RIPPER pilot since its inception. Judy has been involved in all elements of the conception, design, evaluation, data analysis and interpretation of the RIPPER project. Judy has made a substantial contribution to the analysis and interpretation of evaluation data used in this paper Judy has worked in revising and editing successive drafts of the paper in preparation for submission.






Articles: Empirical Research