Learning together, and more on peer review

Along with spending time with students rehearsing research ethics, this week I have also had the chance to be part of a small interprofessional education initiative. This involved pre-registration mental health nurses and pre-registration occupational therapists. Two linked sessions, the last of which was a few days ago, were facilitated by a teaching team led by my excellent colleague Gerwyn Jones, and Ruth Squire (who I hadn’t met before, but was pleased to meet in this context). Also taking part was the fine Teena Clouston, an occupational therapy academic who I have enjoyed working with, on and off, over a period of many years. As an aside, meeting up again with Teena gave me the opportunity to congratulate her on her freshly minted doctorate. That was nice.

Interprofessional education in health and social care is hardly a new idea. It’s also good to do. In the workplace nurses, occupational therapists, doctors, social workers, physiotherapists and all the rest have to rub along together. So why not create opportunities for students from across these fields to learn together first, in the classroom as well as in practice placements?

It’s worth reflecting on the extent to which we still recruit and teach students in uniprofessional isolation. There’s work involved in making connections across different university departments, in creating materials and in planning what will take place. Timetables need to be aligned, and facilities booked. Only then does cross-disciplinary, university-based, learning occur. Having brokered interprofessional education initiatives of this type in the past I appreciate the time and organisation required. But I think we have to collectively put this effort in, and more.

On this occasion, this mental health-focused two days of joint learning culminated in students participating in a role played care planning meeting. I have to say that I was impressed – very impressed – by the way students managed the process. Interactions between professionals, the service user, his carer and an advocate were respectful and productive. I’ve seen a whole lot worse in real life. I left feeling optimistic.

Unrelatedly: yesterday a journal I haven’t reviewed for before got in touch and asked if I would comment on a paper submitted for publication. Last weekend I blogged about peer review, and wrote about having graciously declined an invitation. Yesterday afternoon’s request was different: I know the area being written about, and was happy to give a view.

Changing the subject again, South Wales once more is spectacularly beautiful this morning. Frosty, and dry: perfect for my run.


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