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The impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of interprofessional education: it's not all bad news

02 December 2021
13 min read
Volume 29 · Issue 12

Abstract

During the COVID-19 outbreak, most face-to-face teaching and practice-based learning placements were suspended. Universities provided ongoing health and social care education, including interprofessional education, using online technology. Focusing on changes in the delivery of interprofessional education, this second article in a series on interprofessional education provides an international perspective through facilitators' case reports. It considers the key factors that enabled a rapid shift from face-to-face to online interprofessional education, and the key aspects that had to change. The significant changes reported from literature and case reports reflect on remote and online learning, the duration of education sessions, individual and team learning aspects and facilitation skills.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on societies and individuals. Social distancing measures were introduced to stop the spread of the virus and as a result, most levels of teaching and learning transferred from face to face to online. Universities tried to provide ongoing health and social care education through emergency remote teaching while face-to-face teaching and practice-based learning placements were suspended (Sani et al, 2020). This transformation happened unexpectedly and had to be accomplished in a short period of time (Iglesias-Pradas et al, 2021).

As outlined in the first article in this series (Power et al, 2021), interprofessional collaborative practice is essential for providing high-quality, effective healthcare. Globally, universities have introduced interprofessional education for students to learn with, from and about each other to improve quality of care (Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE), 2002; World Health Organization, 2010; Gonzalez-Pascual et al, 2018; Mahajan et al, 2018; Nichols et al, 2020). Like most teaching, the delivery of interprofessional education was affected by the pandemic and the suspension of face-to-face teaching (Langlois et al, 2020). It is valuable to consider how facilitators coped with this shift and ensured the ongoing delivery of interprofessional education. The aim of this second article in the series on interprofessional education is to focus on its delivery during the pandemic. It will provide an international perspective through facilitators' case reports and will reflect on key aspects that had to change, as well as factors that enabled a rapid shift from face-to-face to online interprofessional education. As acknowledged by Khalili (2020), there are challenges and opportunities for interprofessional education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this paper will reflect on the lessons learned and offer recommendations to guide future remote and online interprofessional education.

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