Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

About this project


Further information

  • Project governance
  • Project evaluation


Project Lead:
Winthrop Professor Fiona Lake
Eric Saint Chair of Medicine
School of Medicine and Pharmacology
The University of Western Australia

Any queries related to this project or website feedback should be directed to:
Assistant Professor Helen Dugmore or Associate Professor Rosemary Saunders
School of Population Health
The University of Western Australia

student and preceptor at Bethanie

The 'Educator Supported Interprofessional Practicums in Ambulatory Care' project will contribute toward addressing clinical training and future workforce issues by preparing students to be capable interprofessional practitioners who understand the needs and challenges of the ambulatory patient.

"Ambulatory care", that is, care provided to outpatients or patients in their homes, unlike hospital, offers a clinical setting where home and environment has a greater immediate impact on the delivery of care. Excluding that provided by GP's; care in hospital outpatient or community clinics; at home or through chronic disease management teams do not involve teaching because they often have excessive clinical loads, resulting in a lack of supervision and a passive role for students.

The development of effective interprofessional clinical placements for health professional students is an important part of initiating interprofessional collaboration. Currently medical and nursing students receive very little interprofessional education, but are expected to work within multi disciplinary teams on graduation. Ambulatory care is ideal for interprofessional learning as care of patients in these settings often involves management of complex chronic problems where health professionals from different disciplines work together to provide 'patient centred care'.

More information about Ambulatory Care Guidelines, Standards and Resources is available.

The 'Educator Supported Interprofessional Practicums in Ambulatory Care' project has developed and supported interprofessional education and practice in the ambulatory setting by adding vital resources in the form of a teaching registrar and a nurse educator The teaching registrar and the nurse educator received joint educational training and have joint responsibilities for students. They also model interprofessional practice to the students by having an excellent and balanced working relationship.

Students attending interprofessional placements are final year medical and nursing students from UWA, and second year pharmacy students from UWA. Students attend placement in the outpatient departments at SCGH and at SilverChain and have specific interprofessional and discipline specific objectives. Students work in interprofessional pairs to deliver patient care and spend allocated time with other health professionals to gain an understanding of the different roles and responsibilities of all contributing members of the interprofessional team.

Case based discussions are conducted by the Teaching Registrar and the Nurse Educators and involve medical, nursing and pharmacy students. The discussions draw on students experiences with in the clinics with the students needing to ascertain what extra information is required to formulate a comprehensive plan of care that is safe, realistic and patient centred. A focus of the discussions is student communication across disciplines to streamline care and utilise all services to provide safe, effective and quality care in a timely and appropriate manner to the 'patient'. Case Based Discussions facilitate each profession learning 'with, from and about' other professions, their strengths and what services they can offer patients.

The University of Western Australia is committed to preparing health professional students for the reality of the health system into which they will commence employment. From the interprofessional learning placement, they will gain a better understanding of interprofessional care, and of the community as a workplace. The increase in the students' knowledge of interprofessional practice aims to improve the efficiency of our health system by supporting appropriate and timely referrals to various health professionals to holistically care for patients without duplication of services amongst the health care team.