Research: Designing interprofessional modules for undergraduate healthcare learners

  • C. Maree
  • P. Bresser
  • M Yazbek
  • L. Engelbrecht
  • K Mostert
  • C. Viviers
  • M. Kekana


Background. Interprofessional education aims to prepare learners to collaborate  across specialties to provide high-quality healthcare. Internationally and nationally, the emerging need for integrated healthcare and education has been emphasised.  The current education programme at the School of Health Care Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa primarily follows a uniprofessional approach.
Objectives. To describe the development of interprofessional modules over 4 years between the departments of Human Nutrition, Nursing Science, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Radiography.
Methods. The Knowledge-to-Action model guided the module development process.  The planning phase comprised three steps: (i) problem identification (e.g. national  and international policy focus on interprofessional education); (ii) review of existing knowledge (e.g. common learning outcomes); and (iii) adaptation of knowledge to the local context (e.g. syllabi and logistics).
Results. The development of interprofessional modules can be guided by the above-mentioned model to meet the needs of the faculty, departments, students and community and to contribute to interprofessional education, while overcoming the associated challenges.
Conclusion. Challenges included clashes in timetable schedules, financial  constraints, administrative support, logistical issues and resistance to change. The designing and implementing of new modules were intense and time consuming, and required commitment. The development of the modules was an excellent example of interprofessional teamwork that needs to be transferred to the implementation and role modelling of interprofessional education.

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