Designing integrative learning on placement: A study of student experiences
Neden, J., Boddy, J., Davies, B., Hunt, S., Young, S., & Wooler, S.
Changes in population trends mean that practitioners working in Australian hospital health care settings provide services for an increasingly diverse multicultural consumer base. As population trending diversifies, emerging patterns of health care call for expanded consumer engagement in ongoing patient care management, especially in relation to chronic health conditions. This increases the need to embed culturally relevant practices and to engage in effective partnership with diverse consumers, communities and professionals across the continuum of health care. In this context, health care services and staff must adapt, accessing new knowledge and developing skills and capability to ensure effectiveness. Hospital placements for social work students have potential to provide students with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills for recognising and responding to emerging client needs and contexts. To explore this potential, a hospital social work department and a state-wide social work and welfare clinical education program partnered with an Australian university to design a placement for students to work with Mãori and Pasifika people accessing a specialist hospital renal care unit. The design engaged students in integrative learning which developed their abilities to make connections between research and practice knowledge and skills to address challenges, needs, and organisational goals with a specific client group. This article reports on findings from a study of student experiences of integrative learning on placement.