Ways of Knowing: An Interprofessional Learning Journey in Cultural Safety and Collaborative Practice

During Feb-March 2021, 1135+ students from across 8 disciplines within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences came together in a learning journey designed to build early-in-program cultural safety and collaborative practice competencies.  Students from audiology, dentistry, nursing, medicine, optometry, physiotherapy, social work and speech pathology were supported by a team of First Nations and non-Indigenous health professions educators (58) who co-designed and co-facilitated the program.

Ways of Knowing

‘Ways of Knowing’ is a term that is drawn from Indigenous pedagogy of ‘ways of knowing, being and doing’ and been specifically utilised in the design and implementation of this early-in-program interprofessional program to develop active listening and critical reflection skills. By bringing a First Nations lens on health or ‘ways of knowing’ into a predominantly Eurocentric lens of biomedical health, it allows students the opportunity to learn with, from and about each other exploring ontological and epistemological ‘knowing’ in health and healthcare.

Students engaged with a total of 10 hours of curriculum content during engagement with 4 discrete but linked activities that ‘ebbed and flowed’ over early in Semester 1 of the student’s programs.  The program consisted of an asynchronous, within discipline ‘On Country’ experience (Activity 1), self-completed online E-module (Activity 2), synchronous interprofessional online tutorial sessions co-facilitated by a team of First Nations health tutors and non-Indigenous tutors (Activity 3), and ended with a Panel Webinar session where we were privileged to receive a Welcome to Country by Aunty Di Kerr, followed by disciplinary experts discussing clinical application to cultural safety practice and collaborative practice.  Key content included definitions of health, determinants of health, introduction to ‘cultural safety practice’ and ‘collaborative practice’ and interprofessional application and discussion to a clinical case study.

A big thank-you to the Interprofessional Ways of Knowing Planning Team for enacting your own collaborative practice and cultural safety competencies in the collaborative development and implementation of this important program, in particular Dr Ngaree Blow and the team in the First Nations Health Portfolio (Department of Medical Education) as well to Jo Bolton, Naomi Norris and Dr Karen Donald (Faculty IPEP Portfolio) for this superb work.

Ways of Knowing