Promoting Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice in Rural Health Settings: Learnings from a State-Wide Multi-Methods Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 May 13;18(10):5162. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18105162.


Evidence is mounting regarding the positive effects of Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (IPECP) on healthcare outcomes. Despite this, IPECP is only in its infancy in several Australian rural healthcare settings. Whilst some rural healthcare teams have successfully adopted an interprofessional model of service delivery, information is scarce on the factors that have enabled or hindered such a transition. Using a combination of team surveys and individual semi-structured team member interviews, data were collected on the enablers of and barriers to IPECP implementation in rural health settings in one Australian state. Using thematic analysis, three themes were developed from the interview data: IPECP remains a black box; drivers at the system level; and the power of an individual to make or break IPECP. Several recommendations have been provided to inform teams transitioning from multi-disciplinary to interprofessional models of service delivery.

Keywords: collaborative practice; continuing professional development; interprofessional education; rural health; rural healthcare teams.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Rural Health