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Teamwork the key to better patient care and sustainable health services

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A new project will change the way medical, nursing and allied health professional are educated, with university courses set to put an increased emphasis on interprofessional teamwork, collaboration and learning.

The Australia-wide project, being led by the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney, is a response to numerous studies highlighting the need for health professionals to work more effectively together in the interests of high quality, safe and sustainable health services.

The project, funded by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching, draws together a team of high-level academics and practising health care practitioners from both universities, advised by a reference group of renowned national and international higher education and health care professionals.

Project co-leader, Professor Alison Lee from the UTS Faculty of Education, said the team would review curricula and learning and teaching practices across the country to develop a common framework of interprofessional education for health care students.

"A recent report by the National Patient Safety Education Framework said that a segregated approach to professional education is no longer appropriate in a health system where complexity, technology and specialisation are the norm," Professor Lee said.

"It concluded that health care workers who are educated and trained to work together can reduce risks to patients, themselves and their colleagues.

"The ageing of Australia’s health workforce will exacerbate existing workforce shortages, particularly in terms of service provision to rural and remote areas, to indigenous communities, and in areas of special need, such as mental health, aged care and disability services.

"It has become all the more important to develop health professionals who not only deliver high-quality patient care, but who are flexible, innovative and engaged in a constant process of learning."

The Learning & Teaching for InterProfessional Practice, Australia project, (L-TIPP, Aus) is being co-led by Jill Thistlethwaite, Associate Professor of medical education at the University of Sydney and a member of CIPHER, the Centre for Innovation in Professional Health Education and Research.

"The project has three main objectives, the first being establishing an Australian interprofessional education development and research agenda," Associate Professor Thistlethwaite said.

"Secondly it will develop a national and integrated approach to interprofessional education curriculum development and information exchange. Thirdly, stronger connections between higher education academics and health service practitioners engaged in the development and delivery of interprofessional education.

"Given the scale and challenge of achieving these outcomes, the project is seeking to actively engage with all relevant higher education and health sector stakeholders around Australia."

(Source: Kath Kenny: University of Sydney: March 2008)

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Posted On: 20 March, 2008
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


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