Short duration clinically-based interprofessional activities prepare heath professional students for the workforce: A systematic review

Mr Peter Brack1, Nora Shields2

1Northern Health, Epping, Australia, 2La Trobe University, School of Allied Health, Bundoora, Australia


Aim: The aim of this review was to examine the benefits of participation in short duration clinically-based interprofessional activities for health care professional students.

Methods: Eight electronic databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, PUBMED, EMBASE, PsychINFO, PEDRO, ERIC, OT Seeker) were searched from inception to June 2017. Full-text English-language studies reporting outcomes of short duration clinically-based interprofessional activities involving health professional students from at least two disciplines were included. Studies were excluded if they evaluated longer duration, iterative or simulation-based interprofessional activities. Data were analysed descriptively and using content analysis with a mixed deductive and inductive approach based on the Interprofessional Collaboration Competency Domain framework.

Results: Of 521 identified articles, 13 were included that assessed two types of interprofessional activities (shadowing and patient reviews) completed by students from medicine, pharmacy, nursing and allied health. All students reported a positive experience of interprofessional education. Student perceived that shadowing activities over 2-10 hours during in their first and second year improved their understanding across all domains of the IPEC Interprofessional Collaboration Competency Domain framework.  Students who completed patient review activities completed over 2.5 -4 hours during the third to fifth years of training also perceived they developed clinical skills in addition to improving their understanding of roles and responsibilities and teamwork.

Significance: Preliminary evidence suggests short duration clinically-based interprofessional activities can help prepare health professional students to be collaborative members of the future workforce.


Peter is an Occupational Therapist by background with a passion for education. He has worked on a number of innovative interprofessional education programs at Northern Health over the past decade including classroom, simulation and training ward models. He has recently undertaken his Masters in Clinical Education and is stepping into the realm of research with a focus on interprofessional learning in the clinical setting.