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Multi-disciplinary education within the health care professions

By Barbara Wood


The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions held by health care\ud professionals, of multi -disciplinary education. In addition, possible areas for the\ud development of a multi-disciplinary approach were identified. The research focused\ud on the views of nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers, speech therapists and\ud occupational therapists.\ud \ud \ud The study adopted a case study methodology, incorporating a mixed-method\ud approach in terms of data collection. A questionnaire was used to review the\ud perceptions of multi-disciplinary education amongst health care professionals, and\ud interviews were then conducted with a sample of the respondents to explore their\ud views further.\ud \ud \ud From the outset, the research process assumed a multi-disciplinary\ud perspective. During the study it became clear that organisational and professional\ud factors were important influences on how health care professionals perceived multidisciplinary\ud education. The research appeared to indicate that the idea of "multidisciplinary\ud education" is a problematic concept and that multi-disciplinary education\ud is acceptable, where it is appropriate. Most of the professions involved recognised the\ud benefits of the process, but were anxious to protect the integrity of each individual\ud profession, in the long term. Moreover, they maintained that the medical profession\ud needs to be included in the process. The organisational findings were, primarily, that\ud multi-disciplinary education might benefit from a cross-agency approach.\ud \ud \ud Perhaps significantly, it was suggested that multi-disciplinary education\ud should be introduced at the pre-registration stage. It was apparent that teamwork does\ud not always occur in practice and that this was an area that could be a focus for multidisciplinary\ud education. The research concluded that there should be joint ownership of\ud any multi-disciplinary education programme across professions and organisations

Topics: RT, LC5201
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