Australian Clinician’s Views on Interprofessional Education for Students in the Rural Clinical Setting

Elisabeth Jacob, Tony Barnett, Karen Missen, Merylin Cross, Lorraine Walker


Background: Collaboration between education providers and clinical agencies to develop models that facilitate cross-disciplinary clinical education for students is essential to produce work-ready graduates.

Methods and Findings: This exploratory study investigated the perceptions of and opportunities for interprofessional education (IPE) from the perspectives of 57 clinical staff from three regional/rural health services across Victoria, Australia. Data were collected through a semi-structured questionnaire, interviews, and focus group discussions with staff from 15 disciplinary groups who were responsible for clinical education. Although different views emerged on what IPE entailed, it was perceived by most clinicians to be valuable for students in enhancing teamwork, improving the understanding of roles and functions of team members, and facilitating common goals for patient care. While benefits of IPE could be articulated by clinicians, student engagement with IPE in clinical areas appeared to be limited, largely ad hoc, and opportunistic. Barriers to IPE included: timing of students’ placements, planning and coordination of activities, resource availability, and current regulatory and education provider requirements.

Conclusions: Without the necessary resources and careful planning and coordination, the integration of IPE as a part of students’ clinical placement experience will remain a largely untapped resource.


Students; Interprofessional education; Clinical placements; Collaboration; Clinicians; Rural

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