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Practice-based learning and the impacts of COVID-19: doing it for real?

02 June 2022
24 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 6


This is the fifth article in a series exploring interprofessional education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article focuses on the experiences and adaptations employed in relation to practice-based learning and placement provision. Forming an integral part of many professional programmes, changes in provision and approaches to practice-based learning and placements will be explored, drawing on theory and findings from existing literature and illustrated with case study reports. Opportunities for innovation, the challenges for incorporating interprofessional practice learning and evidence-informed guidance for future practice will be considered.

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted particularly acutely for practice-based learning and placement provision in health and social care programmes worldwide, necessitating reconfigurations in programme delivery and more flexible approaches for practice-based learning and work placements. Higher education institutions, together with their practice partners in the UK, were mandated to work with guidance and emergency standards issued by the professional, statutory and regulatory bodies to support students in securing progression and transitioning into the workplace without compromising quality, standards or public safety (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2021; Quality Assurance Agency, 2021).

As identified in the first article in this series (Power et al, 2021), opportunities for interprofessional education, where different professions can learn with, from and about each other, are key to fostering collaborative practice and improving the quality of care (Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE), 2002). The possibilities of incorporating interprofessional practice-based learning (Anderson and Lennox, 2009; Anderson et al, 2016; Brewer and Barr, 2016; Barr et al, 2017) adds a further dimension where curricular, logistical and resource implications influence how much of an individual student's learning experience is facilitated in intradisciplinary, profession-specific rather than interdisciplinary, interprofessional groups (Thistlethwaite, 2013; Langlois et al, 2020; Yamashita et al, 2021).

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