Reflections and unprompted observations by healthcare students of an interprofessional shadowing visit

National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education's picture
Submitted by National Center... on Mar 14, 2014 - 11:15am CDT

This paper reports work from a Centre for Interprofessional Practice in a higher education institution in the UK that offers four levels of interprofessional learning (IPL) to all healthcare students. The second level (IPL2) integrates professional practice into the learning process, requiring students to shadow a qualified healthcare professional (from a different profession) for half a day. Students complete a reflective statement upon their learning experience on their return. A study was undertaken to analyse students' reflective statements in depth to see their observations and reflections on the shadowing visit. Using frame analysis, 160 reflective statements were analyzed, identifying common words and phrases used by students, which were then grouped together under six themes. Three of these related directly to the assignment: communication styles and techniques; communication between healthcare professionals and comparison of students' own and other healthcare professionals' roles. Three themes emerged from student's own interpretation of observations and reflections made during the shadowing of a different professional: attitudes toward other professions; power structures between professionals and patients and between professionals and impact of communication on patient care. Interprofessional shadowing gives students an opportunity to observe communication between healthcare professionals and patients and to reflect on broader issues surrounding collaborative working.

PubMed URL:

Wright, Anna
Hawkes, Gillian
Baker, Becky
Lindqvist, Susanne Marie
Journal Citation: 
Journal of Interprofessional Care. 26(4):305-11, 2012 Jul.