Interprofessional education: The interface of nursing and social work

Engle Angela Chan, Samantha Pang Mei Chi, Siu Yin Ching, Kit Sum Syrine Yeung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Aims. To examine the influence of interdisciplinary seminars on undergraduate nursing and social work students' perceptions of their learning. Background. Collaboration is considered to be important for health professionals in working towards good patient care, and interdisciplinary education is seen as one way of addressing this need for greater collaboration and team work. Today's health professionals are dealing with an increasing number of older and chronically ill patients. The biopsychosocial dimensions inherent in such chronic illnesses bring about a closer working relationship between the nursing and social work professions to foster good patient care. No local research in Hong Kong, however, has looked specifically at how these two professions can develop their collaborative skills and qualities through interdisciplinary education. Design. Mixed methods design. Method. Data from questionnaires, videotape recordings of the sessions and follow-up phone interviews were used for quantitative and qualitative analyses. Results. The findings revealed three themes: an increased awareness of each other's professional values and personal judgement, a recognition of each other's disciplinary knowledge emphases and more, and an appreciation for, and learning about each other's roles for future collaboration. Conclusions. Whilst, it is usual to identify health professionals as non-judgemental, it is also important to recognise the existence of their personal and professional values and beliefs that shape their decision-making. Equally beneficial for students is their reported understanding of the other discipline's emphasis on the physical or social aspects of care, and the interrelationships and complementary values that lead to students' appreciation of each other's roles and the possibility for their future collaboration in the holistic care of patients. Relevance to clinical practice. The sharing of each other's knowledge and their appreciation of the corresponding roles enhanced students' decision-making capacity and the extension of the holistic approach beyond one profession, which is essential for good patient care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-176
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Collaboration
  • Education
  • Interprofessional
  • Nurses
  • Nursing
  • Social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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