Getting to know you: new students start learning with peers across subject areas

Date 25.09.2019

New students from podiatry to policing start their degrees this year with the spirit of professional collaboration woven into their modules, thanks to a revised curriculum.

Interprofessional Education (IPE) has been rolled out across many health and social care degree programmes* giving students more opportunities to learn with, from and about their peers in other subject areas.

In the real world, various professions come into close contact on a regular basis. For instance, paramedics will ‘hand over’ a patient to nursing and medical teams when they reach a hospital and these professions may liaise with social workers from time to time.

IPE also allows some of the students to take part in occasional, ‘as close to real life as possible’ learning scenarios with the type of professionals they may work alongside after graduation, all within the safety of the University’s four walls.

Although students already experience some learning across subjects, the new IPE curriculum at Northampton formalises this.

This intake of students is the first at the University to benefit from such a ‘collaborative curriculum’ and IPE will be continued into the second and third years of their degrees.

IPE was officially launched during the University’s Welcome and Induction Week as students in IPE subject areas took part in a ‘What’s in the Box?’ challenge.

‘What’s in the Box?’ involved a series of virtual and physical activities across Waterside campus designed to help new students orientate themselves to their new environment; get to know lecturers and students in other subject areas to develop their team-working and digital skills as they solved a series of clues, each of which revealed a letter.

After solving all of the clues, they then had to work out the mystery word to solve the ‘Open the Box Final Challenge’.

Alexandra Foldesi has just joined the University as an Adult Nursing student and sees the benefits to IPE learning after just one day: “I really enjoyed the IPE activity and it really helped boost my confidence as I was talking to people I have never met before.

“I also enjoyed meeting the adult nursing team, seeing the other students and also the mannequins that look and feel totally realistic – amazing and fun, too.”

Alison Power, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, is the Faculty of Health, Education and Society’s IPE Lead: “A big well done to all of our students who took part in today’s activities. Everyone I spoke to was so friendly and positive – it was a pleasure to meet them!

“There was a real buzz at the ‘Meet the Teams Fayre’ and it was fantastic to watch students enjoying themselves in their interprofessional groups.  Visiting the health and social care stalls enabled them to talk to faculty academic staff and get an insight into what other professions do as part of their ‘day jobs’.”

*The full list of IPE subjects: