Contact is not enough: a qualitative study of how space and place impact on interprofessional education

Lorraine Hawick* (Corresponding Author), Simon Kitto, Jennifer Cleland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Interprofessional education (IPE) aims to prepare health-care students to provide patient care in a collaborative team environment. However, much health-care education is delivered in places and spaces which do not support interprofessional interaction. To examine the consequences of this, we explored how a relatively new health-care education center (the “space” and “place”) impacted interprofessional learning. This qualitative study drew on two data sources. Documents (n = 50) related to building design and curricula plans, and focus groups with medical and physician associate students co-learning within the building to explore their experiences of the building in relation to IPE (17 participants). Data coding and analysis were inductive, using thematic analysis. A key objective for the building was to support IPE. This objective was not translated into operational detail in later documents or into practice, as indicated by student experiences. Students experienced tensions and isolation from each other and other healthcare students because of the building’s place (i.e. separate from other health-care programs), the learning space within the building, and the interplay between the space and timetables. This empirical study
suggests that space and place can impact on interprofessional learning, emphasizing the importance of clearly conceptualizing educational spaces and places to underpin successful IPE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-717
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Issue number5
Early online date11 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Interprofessional education
  • Undergraduate Medica
  • Education
  • Space and Place
  • Case Study
  • Undergraduate Medical Education
  • TIME


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