Students’ experiences and perceptions of interprofessional education during rural placement: A mixed methods study

Lorraine E. Walker, Merylin Cross, Tony Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Interprofessional collaboration is key to addressing the complexity of contemporary health care, therefore it is imperative that students from different disciplines have access to interprofessional education to equip them with the requisite skills and attributes. While interprofessional education promotes a person-centred approach and mutual recognition of one another's contributions to health outcomes, interprofessional education in Australian universities is fragmented and presents challenges that can be addressed through clinical placements. Objectives: This article reports student perceptions and readiness for interprofessional education in the rural clinical learning environment in one region of Australia. Design: A mixed methods approach. Settings: Rural clinical learning environments in one geographic area in Victoria, Australia. Participants: 60 undergraduate healthcare students from allied health, medicine, nursing and midwifery. Methods: A survey incorporating Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale, Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale and focused interprofessional questions. Qualitative data were collected via survey comments, interviews and focus groups. Results: Students had numerous opportunities for interprofessional education, to observe role modelling in the workplace and considered that learning with other professions would help them become more effective members of the health care team. Students valued learning about collaborative practice, the roles of other professions and identified activities that enhanced interprofessional engagement. Conclusions: This study provides important insights regarding students’ perceptions and readiness for interprofessional education. These results demonstrate that there are numerous opportunities to embed interprofessional education within the rural clinical learning environment and offer new insights into students’ experiences and preferences for potential activities. These findings may resonate with others implementing interprofessional education in the workplace and guide facilitators in planning activities for students. Factors influencing differences in attitudes towards interprofessional education and how students acquire an understanding of their professional or disciplinary role warrant further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Education Today
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Clinical learning environment
  • Clinical placement
  • Collaborative practice
  • Health care
  • Interprofessional education
  • Professional roles
  • Rural placement
  • Undergraduate health students

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