A strategy for Interprofessional Education at the University of Lincoln

Mark Brennan and Milika Matiti
University of Lincoln
Interprofessional Education


A number of programmes at the University of Lincoln lead to registration as health or social care professionals, or lead to roles that directly support the work of these professions. In recent years there has been a recognition in the education of care professionals that interprofessional working is a key factor in securing high quality care for service users. This is reflected in recommendations following deficiencies in care, including the Victoria Climbie Inquiry, Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry, Shipman Inquiry and the Francis Report, and in the inclusion by Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (e.g. the GPhC, GMC and NMC) of the requirement to embed interprofessional collaboration and leadership within education programmes leading to registration. Hugh Barr in the introduction to his 2015 report on international developments in IPE states, “The interprofessional movement thrives where conditions are conducive; where openness and mutual support in the workplace characterise relations; where democratisation in universities liberalises learning; where the need for change to improve health and social care is addressed.” By this measure the University of Lincoln has great potential to deliver a high quality IPE experience for its students.

Prior to 2015 there were a number of IPE activities in place at Lincoln; an opportunity was identified to further develop these activities and catalyse the development of new one, bringing in a wider group of health and social care professions both from within and from outside the University. Working in close collaboration between the College of Social Science and College of Science, a working group was established with the aim of developing current good practice and to foster high standards of care through collaborative working in clinical and social care practice. The vision of this group is to enable meaningful engagement between students and staff in health, social care and related disciplines in meeting the needs of service users, families and communities.

What are the Aims?

The objectives of the group are to:

  • Enable students to have regular meaningful interaction with a range of other disciplines
  • Foster interdisciplinary research in IPE
  • Support the University of Lincoln ‘Student as producer’ activities in the development of IPE
  • Involve Service users in the development and implementation of IPE activities

The activities of the group are focussed in four areas of activity; these are:

  • On-campus activities – including simulations and workshops
  • On-placement activities – including ward-based and primary care based activities
  • On-line activities – including the use of asynchronous discussion forums on ethical issues
  • Research and evaluation – focussing on the effect of IPE on the student experience and the future care of health and social care clients

Who was/is involved?

Essential to the success of the initiative was the engagement of staff from all relevant disciplines. The steering committee comprise of representatives from the following colleges, schools and professional programmes at Lincoln:

  • College of Science
    • School of Life Science
      • BSc Biomedical Science
    • School of Pharmacy
      • MPharm Pharmacy
  • College of Social Science
    • School of Health and Social Care
      • BSc Health and Social Care
      • BSc Nursing (Adult)
      • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
      • BSc Social Work
      • MSc Social Work
      • Practice Cert in Non-Medical Prescribing
    • School of Psychology
      • DClinPsy Psychology

Outside of the University links are established with a number of institutions (including NHS trusts and HEIs) to enable the inclusion of students from other cognate programmes, and those remotely located.

What has changed/will change?

The group has identified key indicators of performance as follows:

  1. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation at end of course / module
  2. Number of research grant applications, and of publication / dissemination activity
  3. Establishment of an active student-led IPE student group and delivery of annual report
  4. Establishment of an active Patient and Public Involvement Group providing regular contributions to the LIPESG activities

What lessons have we learnt?

At the end of the first academic year of operation the following themes are emerging:

  • The commitment of both individual staff members and the wider institution is pivotal to the success of IPE initiatives
  • The most notable practical challenges revolve around timetabling and coordination. With the exception of on-line activities, the planning process has to accommodate multiple and varied scheduling needs
  • Student engagement is best where there is clear embedding with their programmes, scheduled activities, and/or is driven by linkage to assessment

A Holistic evaluation of the supporting processes will take place at the end of the first cycle. Evaluation activities to date have focussed on discrete IPE activities and the outcomes to date have been overwhelmingly positive.  

Contact details

Mark Brennan mlbrennan@lincoln.ac.uk

Milika Matiti mmatiti@lincoln.ac.uk