Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI showcases interprofessional research and activities at ‘IPL Dublin 2015' conference

07 October 2015

A number of staff and students from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) presented research into interprofessional education at the IPL (Interprofessional Learning) Dublin 2015 conference which was held in Dublin Castle, on Tuesday 6th October.

IPL Dublin 2015 is a one-day conference focusing on Interprofessional Learning and Education in the Health and Social Care professions and is being jointly hosted by the main Irish health and social care regulators: CORU; the Medical Council; the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland; the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, and supported by the Dental Council.

The theme of the conference was "Advancing health and well-being through interprofessional learning for collaborative practice: Good practice, Dilemmas and Future Directions". 

Pictured (l-r) is Dr Frances Horgan and Dr Judith Strawbridge at the IPL Conference in Dublin Castle

Speaking about the conference, Dr Frances Horgan, Vice Dean of Inter-Professional Education and School of Physiotherapy, RCSI, said "Interprofessional Education, which is when two or more healthcare professionals learn with, from, and about each other in order to improve collaboration and the quality of care, is seen as practically and philosophically important since healthcare delivery is a multidisciplinary team effort and many problems influencing patient care are a result of poor team performance. Together with my RCSI colleagues, I thoroughly enjoyed presenting and discussing all matters of IPE at this inaugural conference. RCSI has worked steadily to introduce some IPE activities and our aim is to develop further meaningful IPE activities across Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy in Dublin; and Medicine and Nursing in Bahrain. Some pilots are underway and Faculty development is planned."
Here is a summary of the RCSI research and workshops that were showcased at the conference:
1. ‘Developing early IPE (Interprofessional Education) at RCSI'
Dr Judith Strawbridge (School of Pharmacy) presented this research on behalf of colleagues Profesor Celine Marmion (Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry), Aileen Barrett (School of Physiotherapy) and Dr James Barlow. This looked at the outcomes of research into the development of an interprofessional module introduced in 2007 at RCSI for Foundation Year (medical and physiotherapy students) and first year pharmacy, and a further early IPE opportunity introduced in 2008 for first year pharmacy and first year physiotherapy students in the form of an in-class ethics and professionalism debate. The student experience with the IPE module was not as positive as expected, but in keeping with literature which highlights the challenges of pre-formed views and stereotypes. The research has informed the retention of the small group case-based tutorials and an IPE project. The student experience of the IPE debates was very positive. Students found the debates interesting, challenging and found it of benefit to work as part of a team. The use of an in-class debate is a novel tool for teaching ethics and IPE.

2. ‘Putting the patient at the centre of IPE' - lessons from a new medicine and pharmacy initiative
This workshop was delivered by Dr Judith Strawbridge who conducted the study with Dr Alice McGarvey, Dr Eoghan O'Neill and Professor Seamus Sreenan, (Graduate Entry Medicine programme). This presentation explored the lessons learned from the development of a novel patient-centred interprofessional education initiative. The initiative was developed in 2015 to enable third year pharmacy students and second year graduate-entry medical students to learn with, from and about each other with respect to the care of a patient with diabetes and a patient with a rheumatological condition. The students had the opportunity to ask the patients, and the team, questions facilitated by the lead consultant in the specialty. There were also short presentations by other medical specialists, clinical nurse specialists, podiatrists, and an interactive session on how to review a kardex. Students were required to collaborate in undertaking a kardex review and submit the review along with a joint reflection on the experience. The initiative achieved positive student reflections and some evidence of improved patient perspective in examinations. The data from end-of-year evaluations and focus groups provided further insight into the student experience and lessons for us as educators.

Pictured (l-r) is Dr Judith Strawbridge, Dr Eva Doherty and Thomas Kearns.

3. ‘Readiness of first year undergraduates for interprofessional learning'.
This was a joint staff and student poster presentation by Dr Frances Horgan, Dr Judith Strawbridge, Dr Sarah O'Neill (MCT), Dr Richard Arnett (QEO), Joanna Zawadzka (QEO), Brian Molloy (Physiotherapy student), Haritha Jacob (Pharmacy student), Rena Al-Zubaidy (Medical student) and Professor Teresa Pawlikowska (HPEC). Dr Horgan and her colleagues present findings relating to the readiness of undergraduate first year physiotherapy, pharmacy and medicine students towards interprofessional learning prior to undertaking IPL activities and at course commencement.

4. Team and patient-centred communication: a foundation for safe quality care
This presentation, given by Thomas Kearns (Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery) and Dr Eva Doherty (Surgical Affairs), addressed issues relating to the design and implementation of an interprofessional training programme for small groups on site. The CEO and senior management team of an RCSI teaching hospital invited the speakers to design and implement a bespoke programme to be delivered on three occasions in the hospital during the working day. Following the successful delivery of three courses in 2014, an invitation to return was issued to deliver a further three in 2015. The issues addressed in the course concerned the delivery of safe patient care encompassing the principles of effective teamwork, communication, trust and confidence. Staff responses to the training were encouraging as evidenced by the invitation to return. Qualitative analysis of participants' feedback indicates the provision of a safe learning environment in which difficult issues can be addressed. This is an example of a successful interprofessional collaboration resulting in a training programme, which has received positive evaluations.