ACT Interprofessional Health Care Challenge offers new learning opportunities

(l-r) Professor Kecskes, Ms Johnston, Professor Lincoln, Ms Chapman, Associate Professor Frost, Mr Bevitt health care challenge, collaboration, ANU, UC, multidisciplinary, interprofessional
23 March 2021

A collaboration between the Australian National University (ANU) and University of Canberra (UC) is inspiring medical, nursing and allied health students across the two universities to work together through a person-centred case study challenge.

Professor Kecskes, Director of ANU Medical School, and Professor Michelle Lincoln, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, UC along with Ms Karlee Johnston (ANU, Pharmacology), Ms Sarah Chapman (UC, Interprofessional Learning Coordinator), Dr Jane Frost (UC, Nursing), and Mr Thomas Bevitt, (UC, Occupational Therapy) are the team responsible for designing the challenge.

The idea for similar challenges, which incorporate a multidisciplinary approach to student learning, grew from a recommendation from the World Health Organisation about the importance of team work in health care. Universities in Canada and the USA were the first to start these type of challenges and they have been replicated around the world.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for students from various disciplines such as medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, dietetics, pharmacology, occupational and speech therapy to work together. It’ll challenge their communications skills and it’ll make them consider different perspectives to consumer care. Ultimately, this type of activity will make these students better health professionals and in the long term will improve health outcomes and experiences for patients,” said Professor Kecskes.

The Challenge prepares students for today’s changing workplace by encouraging greater collaboration between students and professionals from different healthcare professions. Students have been given a case study that involves a patient with a complex case history. Each team will need to work collaboratively to develop a management plan that takes a whole system approach to enhance patient care through negotiation, shared goal setting and decision making.

The Challenge, which runs until May, includes skilled, multi-disciplinary clinical and academic mentors who will guide the teams, provide advice and support. Students teams will present their plan to an expert panel of judges from Canberra Health Services, Calvary and Health Care Consumers’ Association of ACT with the winning team to be announced and prizes awarded on 5 May 2021.