Teaching ideas for generating critical and constructive insights into well‐functioning multidisciplinary mental health teams

Margaret McAllister (Based at School of Health and Sport Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Australia)
Shirley Morrissey (Based at Griffith University Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Australia)
Donna McAuliffe (Based at Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Australia)
Graham Davidson (Based at University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Australia)
Harry McConnell (Based at Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)
Prasuna Reddy (Based at School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Publication date: 16 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

It is now common place for mental health services to operate using multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) where several health professionals simultaneously maintain their disciplinary distinctiveness and assume complementary professional roles. This requires awareness of other team members' disciplines and good team‐work skills. Yet in Australia, the preparation of health professionals continues to occur primarily in single‐discipline programs, where interaction with other disciplines often only occurs in an ad hoc, time‐limited way during clinical placement. This paper seeks to provide serious reflection on preparing students for the multidisciplinary practice within the mental health system.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors introduce a student placement preparation learning package that was developed and trialled with a range of health professional students at two Australian universities. Transformative learning principles underpinned the development of the education materials and related activities, which were designed to sensitise students to the potential problems that arise within MDTs and to equip them with communication strategies for use in their university placement experiences, as well as in their future professional practice.

Findings

The very large majority of student placement preparation workshop participants rated the workshop activities as extremely helpful. After participating in the activities, the very large majority of participants strongly endorsed the workshop learning objectives of understanding the different roles of MDTs members, skills required for working in MDTs, principles of collaborative team‐work and respectful, positive attitudes to MDTs members.

Originality/value

The transformative learning approaches to education of health professionals which are described in this paper help students to examine ways to think more critically and constructively about MDTs.

Keywords

Citation

McAllister, M., Morrissey, S., McAuliffe, D., Davidson, G., McConnell, H. and Reddy, P. (2011), "Teaching ideas for generating critical and constructive insights into well‐functioning multidisciplinary mental health teams", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 117-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/17556221111171711

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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