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Development of an Integrated Curriculum for Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Social Work Students in Scotland

Hislop, Jane; MacDonald, Donnie; Yates, Peter; James, Kirstin; McLelland, Colin; Hillen, Peter; Goetzold, Susanne; McKay, Elizabeth


Jane Hislop

Donnie MacDonald

Peter Yates

Kirstin James

Susanne Goetzold


Background: The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act (2014) came into effect in April 2016 bringing in integration of adult health and social care services in Scotland. This integration has been described as being the most significant change in health and social care provision since 1948 . The changes are driven by the need for a more sustainable approach to health and social care to meet the needs of the growing number of frail elderly and people with complex, long-term conditions. The integration agenda brings with it the need to review how professionals in the sector are educated. While experiences of Social Work education in Scotland has been mostly positive, research suggests that only 24% of Social Work students feel that Universities are good at preparing them for the shift to more integrated care . Traditionally, health and social care education has been uni-professional however interprofessional education (IPE), offers students from different professions opportunities to 'learn with, from and about each other' . Despite limited evidence for the benefits of IPE, small scale studies suggests that pre-qualification IPE prepares professionals for interprofessional working . Purpose: The purpose was to develop a new and innovative IPE curriculum for Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Social Work professionals in Scotland that would prepare graduates for working in health and social care. Methods: The programme team set out to design qualifying Masters programmes in Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Social Work. A programme development steering group of academics in Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Social Work worked together with service users and informal carers to design the curriculum. Consultation was undertaken with service users, carers, practitioners, practice educators and managers. Through these consultations, the qualities, knowledge, skills and values of the professions were explored and the curriculum developed. Results: Commonalities in terms of desirable qualities, knowledge, skills and values were identified. Personal qualities included kindness, patience, resilience, being genuine and nonjudgemental. Knowledge of the lived experiences of others, good communication skills and resilience were highlighted. Values of respect, empathy, honesty were identified. A thematic sequenced curriculum which included Collaborative, Discipline-Specific and Longitudinal themes was developed. Collaborative themes in each term of study, were proposed where all disciplines would work together through scenario-based learning to develop and foster common qualities, knowledge, skills and values. Discipline-Specific themes in each term would allow for development of professional-specific skills and identity. Longitudinal themes of evidence-informed practice, professional values and decision making were weaved through both collaborative and discipline-specific learning. A modular structure for the programme was designed based on these themes, allowing for the alignment of learning between different disciplines. Conclusion(s): A unique feature of the proposed programmes is to integrate the education of Social Work students with that of disciplines of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. This offers the dual benefit of addressing the health and social care integration agenda whilst more fully delivering IPE opportunities within higher education. Implications: Preparing graduates for the changing context of integrated health and social care requires new approaches to curriculum design. Identifying commonalities between professions allows for shared teaching and learning opportunities.


Hislop, J., MacDonald, D., Yates, P., James, K., McLelland, C., Hillen, P., Goetzold, S., & McKay, E. (2019, May). Development of an Integrated Curriculum for Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Social Work Students in Scotland. Poster presented at World Confederation for Physical Therapy, Geneva, Switzerland

Presentation Conference Type Poster
Conference Name World Confederation for Physical Therapy
Start Date May 10, 2019
End Date May 13, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2019
Keywords Interprofessional, Integrated, Curriculum
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