The development of allied health students' collaborative practice capability in higher education

Isabel Paton

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The goal of this research was to explore the development of allied health students’ collaborative practice capability in higher education. Whilst there has been much research dedicated to understanding collaborative practice in general, exploration of this phenomenon in relation to allied health practice and student education more specifically is lacking. My initial motivation to undertake this research stemmed from my professional identity both as a physiotherapist and physiotherapy lecturer. Across my professional career I have witnessed the value of collaborative practice and consequently privilege development of students’ collaborative practice capability in my teaching.

In order to deepen understanding of the development of allied health students’ collaborative practice capability, I examined the key concepts of allied health collaborative practice and allied health collaborative practice capability alongside the development of allied health collaborative practice capability in higher education. I used a philosophical hermeneutic approach to frame my research and constructed conceptual and experiential texts to explore allied health collaborative practice capability. My experiential texts were enhanced through the use of photographic-elicitation.

In this research I undertook two separate but inter-related studies that opened up new and rich understandings. Study 1 explored the nature of allied health collaborative practice and allied health collaborative practice capability. This study revealed the dynamic nature of allied health collaborative practice including how it is shaped by contextual influences, social connections and individual contributions. Understanding allied health collaborative practice in this new way illuminated 15 explicit, entwined capabilities for allied health collaborative practice. Study 2 explored how these capabilities are developed through four commonly used practice-based education strategies in allied health higher education. The value of these practice-based education teaching strategies in developing allied health students’ collaborative practice capability and the importance of scaffolding development of capabilities; educators appreciating, understanding and modelling capabilities for allied health collaborative practice was elucidated.

I present my model, Developing allied health students’ collaborative practice capability that represents a meta-interpretation of the findings of studies 1 and 2 viewed through praxis and practice theory lenses. This model illuminates three domains of collaborative practice capability: situational readiness, social awareness and personal confidence and brings together for the first time, the elements that shape allied health collaborative practice capability; the explicit capabilities for allied health collaborative practice: and the way in which four practice-based education strategies are commonly used to develop collaborative practice capability. The model for the development of allied health students’ collaborative practice capability guides educators in the development of allied health students’ collaborative practice capability and is grounded in the notion of praxis or ‘transforming the patient’s world for the better’.
This research has potential to significantly impact the development of allied health students’ collaborative practice capability in higher education contexts. Allied health education for collaborative practice needs to be re-imagined to privilege scaffolding and balancing development of explicit student capabilities for collaborative practice and ensuring students and educators have a clear understanding of and value collaborative practice. Practice-based education teaching strategies such as case- and problem-based learning, simulation-based education and workplace learning are ideally positioned to facilitate development of students’ collaborative practice capability because of their interactive nature, providing a platform to enhance development of allied health students’ collaborative practice capability and better prepare them for contemporary healthcare settings.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Patton, Narelle, Principal Supervisor
  • Croker, Anne, Co-Supervisor, External person
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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