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An Interdisciplinary Student Clinic at University of Portsmouth (UoP): Future Practitioners Working Collaboratively to Improve Health and Wellbeing of Clients (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

Our paper fits into all the themes ● The clinician and community needs ● The clinician and research into the impact of clinic ● The clinician and academic identity ● The clinician and curriculum and student learning

This paper examines the value in students, academics and clinical supervisors learning and working together across different disciplines through an interdisciplinary student clinic (IDSC) to deliver legal and public health education to people who experience social exclusion by reason of vulnerability or disadvantage (including poverty)– the ‘Health Justice Partnership Student Clinic’.

This paper situates the discussion firstly within the context of author one’s research on multi-disciplinary practices (MDP) including Health Justice Partnerships (HJP) which have led to this decision at University of Portsmouth to set up a IDSC. MDP in this context is where a number of professionals work together in a practice to assist the client using their different skills but in the one place and setting. One subset of an MDP is the HJP which sees lawyers working alongside nursing and allied health professionals to reach clients with a range of problems capable of legal solutions e.g. debt, family violence, poor housing, consumer issues, care and protection, human rights, access to services. It is about going to where people in need of help are likely to turn.

This paper firstly identifies the evidence-based research that has led the authors to see the need, not just for multi-disciplinary practices in a service context but also interdisciplinary practice and teaching opportunities through clinical learning that brings greater collaboration for students, supervisors and academics across the professional divide to improve outcomes for clients. The authors see a critical need in universities to better prepare the emerging professionals to learn about collaboration with other disciplines and demonstrate influence and impact in the wider community. Author one’s empirical research into effective practice also suggests that such collaboration leads to better outcomes for clients and patients especially those experience some form of vulnerability or disadvantage.

Secondly, as there is some literature on IDP and IDSC, (mainly from the United States and Australia) this paper will explore other models, the reasons and rationales for their emergence and the benefits and challenges and how this has informed the development other new pilot IDSC at the University of Portsmouth. The paper then discusses why the IDSC has emerged as an important way of building better and more responsive future practitioners in nursing, law and allied health disciplines.

The paper also discusses aims of the three-year University of Portsmouth pilot IDSC and the joint learning opportunities for students of different disciplines, their supervisors and across departments which are envisioned so as to break down barriers between professionals, enable future practitioners to collaborate across different fields and thereby improve social justice and health outcomes for clients and community. These include fostering and increasing understanding and respect for different professional roles and approaches, breaking down stereotypes, enhancing student employability and working together to better reach and meet client/patient needs by being more responsive to legal and public health needs.

The proposed trial IDSC HJP student clinic course will teach new approaches to students studying nursing, dentistry and law in a joint learning environment that includes problem solving, relationship-building, communication and collaboration skills in a clinic which will provide live client legal and public health advice. It will discuss how this is being undertaken and the challenges and approach of the course and its curriculum.

The paper finally discusses the embedded evaluation of the pilot study. It is embedded as the authors are keen to enable good practice, share lessons learned and inform replicable models in other university settings. The embedded evaluation being undertaken will inform as to the projects impact on students, academic staff, partner agencies and clients.

Read on SSRN


Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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