The NNEdPro ANZ Regional Network works collaboratively to strengthen the nutrition education and competence of medical and healthcare professionals in Australia and New Zealand through innovation in research, resource development and delivery. On 28th June 2023, members of the ANZ Regional Network presented at the Australian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) Conference, on the Gold Coast, Australia. The theme of the 2023 Conference was ‘Turning Tides: Navigating the Opportunities’.
Professor Eleanor Beck, Professor Lauren Ball, Dr Helen McCarthy, and Dr Breanna Lepre presented on all things interprofessional education, using nutrition as a case example for embedding knowledge from individual health disciplines into broader health professions education. Interprofessional education provides opportunities for understanding of the scope of practice, teamwork, and communication across a breadth of practice areas. Professor Beck, Head of Health Sciences at UNSW, highlighted interprofessional education as an opportunity to embed nutrition in health professions education, and the enablers and challenges.
Dr Breanna Lepre, Assistant Director at the NNEdPro Global Institute, and Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, presented a Framework for Nutrition Education in Australian Medical Training and discussed strategies to support the implementation of nutrition concepts into health professions education. The key takeaway from this presentation is the opportunity to integrate nutrition into existing medical curricula, based on key cross-cutting themes, such as teamwork, communication, professionalism, and health promotion and disease prevention.
Professor Lauren Ball, Professor of Community Health and Wellbeing at the University of Queensland, and Associate Director at the NNEdPro Global Institute, presented findings from a review of culinary education in medical training, as an innovative strategy to enhance the nutrition capacity of the health workforce.
Finally, Dr Helen McCarthy, Deputy Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching and Research Fellow in the Institute of Health and Sport at Victoria University, concluded the presentation with the key takeaways. These recognised the agreement that IPE and IPP are important but hard to make a reality.
Effective approaches depend on the environment; ‘start small’, ‘go big’, or use a combination of approaches, but most importantly being open to innovation in this space to make it happen.
Attendees were left with the following questions to consider / discussion was guided by the following questions:
- How can we advocate for embedding cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills -both top-down and bottom-up – embedded in curricula of other disciplines?
- What are the scholarly strategies to justify that ‘your’ discipline knowledge is important?
Discussion with attendees focused on the use of interprofessional university health clinics, where health students ‘share the care’ of patients, to gain an understanding of the scope of practice, and skills in teamwork and communication. In addition, the challenge of timetabling when implementing interprofessional education was acknowledged by attendees and underscored the need to use both top-down and bottom-up approaches to implementation.
The symposium stimulated an interesting discussion highlighting the importance of this topic area, the challenges it presents, but also the innovation that is possible through collaboration.
If you would like to know more about the ANZ NNEdPro Regional Network visit: https://www.nnedpro.org.uk/aus-nz