About interprofessional education

Interprofessional education (IPE) has formed the foundation of many faculty-based initiatives in recent years. These initiatives are organised into three interconnecting domains: education, practice and research.

An Interprofessional Education Committee oversees the development, implementation and evaluation of IPE in the faculty. Representatives on this group include the Director of Practice and Interprofessional Education, the Dean of Teaching and Learning, as well as representatives from within the faculty and industry.

“Interprofessional education occurs when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care.”

UK, Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education, 2002

Goals of the Interprofessional Education Team

  • Support the development and expansion of high quality, sustainable IPE activities in the faculty
  • Increase the number and quality of interprofessional fieldwork placements opportunities in partnership with external agencies and monitor these
  • Provide a repository for IPE teaching and learning materials accessible for faculty staff and students
  • Promote the development of interprofessional knowledge, skills, and attitudes within faculty staff and students
  • Stimulate faculty networking for staff and students
  • Provide leadership in IPE
  • Develop strategic state, national and international partnerships
  • Commit to high quality evaluation and quality improvement procedures
  • Draw upon, and contribute to, the scientific evidence base for best practice in IPE and collaborative practice.

Building our future workforce

Health professionals need to be able to work in teams, but, paradoxically, students receive little training in how to function within an interprofessional team context. Effective, safe, high quality care increasingly requires practitioners to know how each profession contributes its skills and expertise to optimise health outcomes. Interprofessional education is essential to break down the barriers between professions that undermine the quality of communication and client* care.

Health Sciences at Curtin recognises the need to change the way health professionals are educated to prepare them for the ever-changing health and social demands worldwide. Interprofessional Education (IPE) is one of the key strategies which forms the foundation of many Faculty initiatives enabling health and social work professionals to learn with, from, and about each other, sharing knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for collaborative practice.

The aim of the Faculty’s IPE program is to provide opportunities for health science students to learn together. Through learning together (both in the classroom and in fieldwork placements) it is expected that students will understand more about the health professionals they will work with in the future. Health Sciences at Curtin are the first to provide interprofessional education in Western Australia, the main focus of this innovative curriculum is to:

  • ensure safety and quality improvement in health care/service delivery
  • ensure client-centred practice
  • promote collaborative practice
  • enhance students’ team work and communication skills
  • develop students for success in the healthcare sector.

* Definition of a client: Today we use the word client rather than patient – this is because the client may be an individual, a family, a carer, a group, an organisation, or a community depending upon the situation. Patient typically refers to someone who is sick, and health professionals work with many clients who have needs but are not sick – in fact the focus of intervention is around prevention or modification of the environment or other actions designed to ensure the best quality of health care/service.

FAQs for IPE Students

What is Interprofessional Education (IPE)?

“Interprofessional Education occurs when two or more professions learn with, from, and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care.” CAIPE (2002)


What does Interprofessional Education mean to me as a student?

As a student you will work with students from your own and other disciplines to learn with, from, and about each other, developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for collaboration and quality of client care/service.


What students will I study with?

You will have the opportunity to study and be taught with students in the following areas: Exercise and Sport Science, Health Promotion, Health Promotion and Health and SafetyHealth, Safety and Environment, Human Biology Preclinical, Laboratory Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Biotechnology, Medicine, Nursing, Paramedicine, Nutrition and Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Oral Health Therapy, Pharmacy Physiotherapy Psychology, Social Work, Speech Pathology.


What are the benefits of Interprofessional Education?

Ensuring safety and quality improvement in healthcare delivery

No one profession, working in isolation, has the expertise to respond adequately and effectively to the needs of clients with complex issues to ensure that care is safe, seamless, holistic and to the highest possible standard.

Ensuring client-centred care

IPE emphasises the critical role of the client as a partner in planning and implementing care/services.

Developing students for success in the healthcare sector

Curtin health graduates will understand that their profession is not an isolated area of knowledge and skills, but that they have an important role to play as part of a health team.

Enhancing students’ team work, communication and problem solving skills

Curtin health graduates will be able to work in interprofessional teams, and will have an excellent understanding of the broad contexts and influences on health, with excellent communication and problem solving skills.

Promoting collaborative practice

IPE is more than common learning, valuable though that is to introduce shared concepts, skills, language and perspectives that establish common ground for collaborative practice. It is interactive, taking into account respective roles and responsibilities, skills and knowledge, codes of conduct, opportunities and constraints. IPE is grounded in mutual respect and trust. Participants, whatever the differences in their status in the workplace, are equal as learners. They celebrate and utilise the distinctive experience and expertise that participants bring from their respective professional fields. Common misconceptions and stereotypes are challenged.

What subjects will I be taught?

In the first year all students will complete five core units. The core units will provide an excellent grounding for health professionals that will see them much more industry ready. A unit on Indigenous Culture and Health is critical in preparing practitioners to address the enormous need that we have, and to meet the additional challenges there are in providing services to this client group:

  • Foundations for Professional Health Practice
  • Health and Health Behaviour
  • Human Structure and Function
  • Evidence Informed Health Practice
  • Indigenous Culture and Health.

Students will also complete two units in the areas of bioscience, science or behavioural science (specified by the course) and two discipline specific units (one in each semester) – we believe these are very important to connect students with their chosen discipline in their first year of study.


What will the teaching format be?

Most of the learning experiences will include a combination of lectures, tutorials or workshops, laboratories and online learning. They are highly interactive and students will often work in groups together to solve real life problems.


What course should I take if I know I want to specialise in healthcare, but not sure what area?

It’s okay if you change your mind, or things don’t work out as you expected, because at Curtin’s Health Sciences our leading interprofessional education curriculum provides you with the flexibility to move to another health sciences degree if the course you initially chose to study isn’t exactly what you had in mind. Alternatively, if you don’t quite meet the prerequisites you need to qualify to apply for your desired course, you can also apply for a closely related course and may be able to then switch into your desired course after your first year or study.

If you are interested in using this alternative entry pathway then we recommend you consider the Health Sciences course as it will provide you with the greatest opportunity to switch into other health sciences courses and you may have no extra units to complete.

Options are available to switch between courses that are not closely related, but it is likely that additional units and possible catch-up readings will be required to get up to speed in your new course.


Will the Interprofessional Program apply to all Health Sciences degrees?

Yes! All students enrolled in any of the health sciences degrees at Curtin including:

Exercise and Sport Science, Health Promotion, Health Promotion and Health and SafetyHealth, Safety and Environment, Human Biology Preclinical, Laboratory Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Biotechnology, Medicine, Nursing, Paramedicine, Nutrition and Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Oral Health Therapy, Pharmacy Physiotherapy Psychology, Social Work, Speech Pathology. You will learn about interprofessional (collaborative) practice in the first year of their degree. The skills to work collaboratively will continue to develop throughout the duration of the degree, in clinical/fieldwork placements and in international interprofessional learning placements such as our ‘Go Global’ program.


Who can I contact for further information?

Current Student Enquiries

Curtin Connect, Building 102, Level 1
T: 1300 222 888
E: currentstudents@health.curtin.edu.au