An Innovative Approach to Providing Interprofessional Practice Experience for Students from Osteopathy and Social Work


  • Louise Horstmanshof Southern Cross University
  • Hilary Gallagher Griffith University
  • Monique Lewis Griffith University


Interprofessional teamwork, Student-led clinics, Innovative approach, Action research, Surveys, Focus group


Providing effective interprofessional practice experience for pre-registration students is challenging. We share an innovative approach that provided opportunities for students from osteopathy and social work to work together and learn from each other. As academics tasked with providing practice experience for pre-registration students, we report what was learnt from the experience. To better understand the students’ experiences, a focus group was conducted. Data from this focus group informed the design of the questionnaire developed for participants in the second year of the innovation. There were eight students
in the focus group, 23 students responded to the questionnaire in the first session, and nine in the subsequent, final session.

Four core categories emerged from the coding process: Professional scope of practice; Interprofessional learning; Practice knowledge and philosophy; and Patient care. As authors, observers, and participants in this active research approach, we have identified a fifth category, “Challenges and learning” that speaks to some of our recommendations. The findings reaffirm the benefits of interprofessional learning for pre-registration health students and the holistic focus emerging in allied health. The disciplines participating in this innovative, interprofessional practice experience do not usually work together, nevertheless the approach adopted may be generalisable across healthcare professions.

Author Biographies

Louise Horstmanshof, Southern Cross University

School of Health and Human Sciences

Hilary Gallagher, Griffith University

School of Human Services & Social Work

Monique Lewis, Griffith University

School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science


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