Aim: This paper presents findings from a multimethod evaluation of an interprofessional training ward placement for medical, nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy students.
Context: Unique in the UK, and following the pioneering work at Linköping, the training ward allowed senior pre-qualification students, under the supervision of practitioners, to plan and deliver interprofessional care for a group of orthopaedic and rheumatology patients. This responsibility enabled students to develop profession-specific skills and competencies in dealing with patients. It also allowed them to enhance their teamworking skills in an interprofessional environment. Student teams were supported by facilitators who ensured medical care was optimal, led reflective sessions and facilitated students' problem solving.
Methods: Data were collected from all groups of participants involved in the ward: students, facilitators and patients. Methods included questionnaires, interviews and observations.
Results and discussion: Findings are presented from each participating group, with a particular emphasis placed on the perspective of medicine. The study found that students valued highly the experiential learning they received on the ward and felt the ward prepared them more effectively for future practice. However, many encountered difficulties adopting an autonomous learning style during their placement. Despite enjoying their work on the ward, facilitators were concerned that the demands of their role could result in 'burn-out'. Patients enjoyed their ward experience and scored higher on a range of satisfaction indicators than a comparative group of patients.
Conclusions: Participants were generally positive about the training ward. All considered that it was a worthwhile experience and felt the ward should recommence in the near future.