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

Jessica Woodroffe, Judy Spencer, Kim Rooney, Quynh Le, Penny Allen


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.


Interprofessional health education; Interprofessional practice; Simulation; Rural health education

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