The Interprofessional Learning Zone as a mechanism for cultivating relationships
In contrast to health professional curricula traditionally focused on acquisition and application of distinct knowledge, skills and values pertaining to specific health professions, the School of Clinical Sciences (SoCS) has boldly addressed the need for a more collaborative and relational approach to preparing future health science graduates for contemporary health care practice. Embedding interprofessional education (IPE) into existing clinical programmes through explicitly positioning IPE as core business has been central to this approach. A key aim has been to ensure academic and clinical staff, and all health science students develop dispositional qualities through and for interprofessional practice, that centres on person and whānau-centred health care practices.
The SoCS has drawn on Transformative Learning and Social learning theories to inform the development and implementation of an interprofessional learning framework – The Interprofessional Learning Zone (IPLZ). These theories combine an ontological and social orientation, focused on the process of ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ a health professional.
Developing the IPLZ has required the ongoing collaborative work of a team from ten health science departments. The dispositional qualities for interprofessional practice provide an overarching mandate and create an environment where the contributions of all those involved are respected and valued. The flow on effect of this thoughtful relational approach among team members is becoming evident in the school, with open collegial dialogue replacing previously closed conversations between departments.