University of Limerick
OLeary_2021_Navigating.pdf (4.17 MB)

Navigating the integration of practice-based interprofessional education in healthcare education: a theoretically infused qualitative case study

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posted on 2023-02-16, 16:13 authored by Noreen O'Leary
Background Practice-based interprofessional education (IPE) enables students to develop collaborative working skills in authentic clinical settings. Integration of this model into healthcare curricula is complex. Research exploring practice-based IPE in allied health professions is sparse, with limited consideration of the role of theory to support sustainability. Aims This research aimed to demonstrate the contribution theory can make to the integration of practice-based IPE at a school of allied health. Method First a qualitative metasynthesis was conducted, to elucidate the challenges of practice based IPE in allied health. Second a scoping review was conducted to guide decision making regarding theories to inform research design. Third a theoretically informed ethnographic case study and model to support theory selection and application was developed. This case study involved two key phases. During phase one the focus was on the experiences of a university practice education team tasked with establishing practice-based IPE. This informed phase two, where participants were students and clinical educators with experience of practice-based IPE. Each phase was theoretically informed. Findings Overall PhD findings demonstrate that certain conditions enhance integration of practice-based IPE. These include defined curricular pathways for practice-based IPE and interagency partnerships across healthcare and educational institutions. Research also highlighted that theory is seldom applied to design and evaluation of practice-based IPE. Discussion Practice-based IPE is under-theorised. Using a theoretically informed model to develop curricular pathways and interagency partnerships can support nuanced understanding and solutions. Cultivating a practice landscape where educators are supported to implement theory in the design and delivery of practice-based IPE in their everyday practice is recommended. Conclusions Theory can advance the aim of integrated and sustainable practice-based IPE. Consequently, students would have greater opportunities to develop collaborative working skills, bolstering workforce readiness. These skills are evermore needed by the people who access healthcare services.



  • Faculty of Education and Health Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Nancy Salmon

Second supervisor

Amanda M. Clifford





Department or School

  • Allied Health

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