A new inter-professional course preparing learners for life in rural communities
The 'Professionals in Rural Practice' course was developed with the aim of preparing students enrolled in professional programs in Canada to become better equipped for the possible eventuality of professional work in a rural setting. To match the reality of living and working in a rural community, which by nature is interprofessional, the course designers were an interprofessional teaching team. In order to promote group cohesiveness the course included the participation of an interprofessional group of students and instructors from the disciplines of medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, teacher education, and theology. The format of the course included three-hour classes over an eight-week period and a two-day field experience in a rural community. The course utilized various experiential and interactive teaching and learning methods, along with a variety of assessment methods. Data were collected from student participants over two iterations of the course using a mixed methods approach. Results demonstrate that students value the interprofessional and experiential approach to learning and viewed this course as indispensable for gaining knowledge of other professions and preparation for rural practice. The data reveal important organizational and pedagogical considerations specific to interprofessional education, community based action research, and the unique interprofessional nature of training for life and work in a rural community. This study also indicates the potential value of further longitudinal study of participants in this course. Key words: Canada, community based action research, education, interdisciplinary, interprofessional.
PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18302494