Interprofessional clinical education: clinicians' views on the importance of leadership
The current shortage of health professionals necessitates new approaches to clinical education that can expand the number of undergraduate students undertaking clinical placements without increasing the burden on clinical staff or placing patients at risk. Interprofessional education has the potential to help increase clinical capacity whilst enriching students' clinical experience. This paper reports on a project which investigated the potential for interprofessional education to increase undergraduate clinical placement capacity in clinical settings. The project utilised an exploratory descriptive methodology to obtain the views of health care professionals about the use of interprofessional education in clinical education at three rural health facilities in Victoria, Australia. Participants (n = 57) had a key role with each health care facility in coordinating and facilitating undergraduate clinical placements. This paper examines the clinicians' views about the central role that leadership plays in actioning interprofessional education in the clinical setting. Whilst interprofessional education was regarded favourably by the majority of participants, data indicated that leadership from education providers, health services, and regulatory authorities was crucial to enable interprofessional education to be implemented and sustained within the clinical learning environment. Without leadership from each of these three spheres of influence, interprofessional education will continue to be difficult to implement for undergraduate students and compromise their exposure to an important aspect of the working life of health care professionals. Such a failure will limit graduates' readiness for collaborative and cross-disciplinary practice.
PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23362604