New curricula promotes shared learning

12 September 2008 | Story by Newsroom

HRS students
Together as one: Speech therapy student Suhair Solomon (left) collaborates with physiotherapy student Kirsty Wood and occupational therapy student Sarah-Anne Barden, in the new elective introduced by the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Senior students in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences are gaining first-hand experience of multi-professional practice in a new curriculum initiative at selected practice learning sites in Cape Town.

Collaborating on case management and then presenting together at case conferences enables students to learn about each other's professions while appreciating the practicalities of the primary healthcare approach, and the need for contextually relevant practice.

"This practical approach to interdisciplinary learning allows better referral across professions resulting in a holistic approach to client management," said Soraya Maart, a senior lecturer at the school.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and audiology students placed at Vanguard Student Learning Centre collaborated around a client suffering from stroke. Students acknowledged that they generally refer clients to their colleagues, but that the structured approach to multi-professional learning encouraged a deeper understanding and appreciation of the roles of the respective disciplines.

"This will ensure that graduates are able to deliver comprehensive healthcare within a team", explained Maart.

Madeleine Duncan, also a senior lecturer, said: "The emphasis is on shared learning across programmes. Students have been very positive about this experience, and we are hoping to get other disciplines from the Faculty of Health Sciences involved in the future."

Professor Dele Amosun, head of the physiotherapy section, said the initiative reflects the responsibility of higher education to create curricula that respond to the needs of society.

The project has been piloted in the second semester and intended for full operation next year.

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