Finding their voice: Reflections on Teaching Interprofessional Communication in Emergency Care

Alexander MacQuarrie, John Rae, Tania Johnston

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


IntroductionInterprofessional communication between paramedics and emergency nurses has become increasingly difficult given the growing demands and stressors in today’s work environment. Despite these challenges, the literature emphasises the vital importance of clinical handover as being paramount to patient safety. At Charles Sturt University, we explored how simulation can be employed in a interprofessional education (IPE) exercise exposing paramedic and nursing students to a high-pressure emergency department wherein they must engage in patient handover.MethodsOver a four-day period, 200 paramedic and nursing students participated in an intensive simulation exercise. The students were introduced to ‘real life’ scenarios giving them the opportunity to practice key clinical and interprofessional communication skills while working as part of a multidisciplinary team. The project team subsequently surveyed all student and staff members.ResultsAlthough daunting, the students found it very valuable to practice communication alongside another discipline. They gained confidence as the exercise progressed, becoming more comfortable interacting with other team members. In addition to validating that IPE is an effective tool for developing communication skills, we determined that this could be successfully facilitated in a large scale simulated setting. We also learned that experienced clinicians add significant richness to IPE and help students develop a shared understanding between disciplines. ConclusionAcademics can work across disciplines to prepare students for the pressures they will face in today’s high stress work environments. IPE is effective in teaching vital communication skills and universities are well positioned to overcome barriers that restrict interprofessional practice and communication.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParamedics Australasia International Conference 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventParamedics Australasia International Conference - Canberra, ACT, Australia
Duration: 17 Oct 201319 Oct 2013


ConferenceParamedics Australasia International Conference


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