1520 Health students, 121 Teams channel meetings What could go wrong…Running an engaging interprofessional education session in the Covid-19 pandemic
Never has interprofessional education (IPE) been more pertinent than in the midst of a pandemic. NHS teams are stretched, professionals are stepping up into new roles and new teams of health professionals are working together for the first time. At Keele we run an ambitious program of IPE across our health and natural sciences faculties bringing together students within a year group across 8 programmes, to engage in a half day of activities in multi professional groups. Usually run in large spaces in situ across the university, the coordinated effort to deliver and encourage engagement from a diverse student population is difficult in normal times, and seemed impossible to emulate in the midst of a pandemic. With distanced facilitators and students dissociated from the usual social engagement that university life brings, there were concerns around student engagement with the program and the ability to deliver on the large scale necessary.
Not to be defeated within a matter of months we developed an online version of both our first and second year programs. Using Teams as a platform, we delivered both of our interprofessional activities; Year 1 - Introduction to roles and responsibilities and Year 2 - Healthcare teams. These were half day timetabled events running simultaneously across multiple private channels, with groups of 8-10 students and a facilitator. The students were given an ice breaker activity and a series of online tasks to complete as a group. Both events were evaluated from a student and facilitator perspective, with questions around meeting the learning outcomes, as well as student engagement and enjoyment. Despite a few technical hiccups students were overwhelmingly positive towards the event, and facilitators and students reported high levels of engagement and enjoyment. In particular the opportunity to meet and work with students from other health schools was well received, and led to beneficial opportunities to learn from and about each other. Here we describe the resources we made, with a particular focus on activities which would be accessible and engaging, and present our commentary on designing and running the event alongside student and staff evaluation. With unexpected benefits to student engagement associated with the online version we are now looking to the future to implement lessons learnt from organising this event and hope to inspire others in running similarly ambitious projects, both during, and after the pandemic.
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