Talking inter-professional change through online collaboration

Smith, Charlotte orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2964-995X, Perera, Kathryn and Keeling, Joanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0151-7234 (2018) Talking inter-professional change through online collaboration. In: All Together for Better Health IX (ATBH IX) 2018 Conference, Setpember 4-6 2018, Auckland, New Zealand. (Unpublished)

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Abstract/Theoretical Background
This paper will provide a discussion and evaluation of an inter-professional education initiative being piloted at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK in 2018 in partnership with the UK based School for Change Agents through NHS Horizons. Students from different disciplines and professions had the opportunity to connect with people from across the world and with student colleagues from different Schools and disciplines through a social media platform. As well as participating in live webinars, the School for Change Agents and UCLan worked in partnership to deliver to students two online inter-professional “Zoom” sessions, with a focus on change management in the multi-professional practice setting. Inter-professional learning in undergraduate education has benefits for students both prior to and post-qualification (Hood et al, 2013). However, anecdotal evidence from student experience data and through reports on social media suggests that collaborative working is somewhat inconsistent (WeCommunities, 2015). Higher Education Institutions can struggle to provide programmes of learning which engage students across disciplines due to the perceived barriers such as differing professional requirements and organisational structure (Stepney et al, 2011; Currie and White, 2012). Given the evidence supporting the benefits of collaborative working between different disciplines in practice, it seems that educational curricula is a natural platform on which to introduce the concept of inter-professional collaboration using social media as innovations in technology make collaboration easier (Ford et al, 2011; Jang, 2015) .

To evaluate a collaborative online inter-professional leadership programme and its utility and impact in practice.

The programme was delivered online at the University of Central Lancashire UK, in partnership with NHS Horizons and was based on the content of their “School for Change Agents”, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) where participants are taught the skills they need to create, lead and sustain change in a fast-moving and difficult climate.

140 students from differing programmes of professional study (including nursing, midwifery, sports and physical education, sports business management, social work and allied health professions) were recruited to collaborate and participate in the inter-professional online programme.

A narrative inquiry qualitative approach was used to elicit participant responses as to the utility of this inter-professional initiative. This is recognised as an effective learning and evaluation tool for teachers and learners (Bruner, 2003; Devine et al 2014; Palmer, 2016). For this study, each participant was asked to construct a narrative to describe their experience of participating in the course and its impact on their professional development.

Analysis and Findings
The thematic analysis of the data derived from this study and subsequent findings will be reported.

Bruner, J. (2003) Making Stories Boston, Harvard University Press

Currie, G., and White, L. (2012) Inter-professional barriers and knowledge brokering in an
organizational context: The case of healthcare organisation studies 33;10 Available at: (Accessed Nov 2017)

Devine, J. Quinn, T. & Aguilar, P. (2014) “Teaching and Transforming Through Stories: An Exploration of Macro- and Micro-Narratives as Teaching Tools” The Reference Librarian, 55:4:273-288 Available at: Accessed : 4 October 2017

Ford, N., Bowden, M. and Beard, J. (2011) Learning together: using social media to foster collaboration in higher education Cutting Edge Technologies in Higher Education 2:105-126 Available at: (Accessed Nov 2017)

Hood, K. Cant, R., Baulch, J., Gilbee, A., Leech, M., Anderson A. and Davies, K. (2014) Prior experience of interprofessional learning enhances undergraduate nursing and healthcare students' professional identity and attitudes to teamwork. Nurse Education in Practice 2014 Mar;14(2):117-22

Jang, Y. (2015) Convenience matters: A qualitative study on the impact of use of social media and collaboration technologies on learning experience and performance in higher
Education Education for Information 31 (2014/2015) 73–98

Palmer, P. & Shushok, F. (2016) Parker J. Palmer reflects on a lifetime of learning with executive editor Frank Shushok jr. About Campus Sept-Oct 2016:4-13 Available at : Accessed : 27 September 2017

Stepney, P. Callwood, I., Ning, F., and Downing, K. (2011) Learning to collaborate: a study of nursing students’ experience of inter‐professional education at one UK University Journal of Educational Studies Volume 37, 2011 - Issue 4

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