Learning from lives together: medical and social work students' experiences of learning from people with disabilities in the community
The study aims to evaluate an interprofessional community-based learning event, focussing on disability. The learning opportunity was based on the Leicester Model of Interprofessional Education, organised around the experiences and perceptions of service users and their carers. Programme participants were drawn from medicine and social work education in Leicester, UK, bringing together diverse traditions in the care of people with disabilities. Small student groups (3-4 students) worked from one of the eight community rehabilitation hospitals through a programme of contact with people with disabilities in hospital, at home or in other community settings. The evaluation, in March 2005, used a mixed methods approach, incorporating questionnaire surveys, focus group interviews with students and feedback from service users. Responses were collated and analysed using quantitative and qualitative measures. Fifty social work and 100 medical students completed the first combined delivery of the module. The findings indicated that the merging of social work and medical perspectives appear to create some tensions, although overall the student experience was found to be beneficial. Service users (16 responses) valued the process. They were not concerned at the prospect of meeting a number of students at home or elsewhere and were pleased to think of themselves as educators. Problems and obstacles still anticipated include changing the mindset of clinicians and practising social workers to enable them to support students from each other's disciplines in practice learning. The generally positive outcomes highlight that disability focussed joint learning offers a meaningful platform for interprofessional education in a practice environment.
PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20534068