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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 12, 2016

Advancing medical education: connecting interprofessional collaboration and education opportunities with integrative medicine initiatives to build shared learning

  • Kate Templeman EMAIL logo , Anske Robinson and Lisa McKenna



Improved teamwork between conventional and complementary medicine (CM) practitioners is indicated to achieve effective healthcare. However, little is known about interprofessional collaboration and education in the context of integrative medicine (IM).


This paper reports the findings from a constructivist-grounded theory method study that explored and highlighted Australian medical students’ experiences and opportunities for linking interprofessional collaboration and learning in the context of IM. Following ethical approval, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 medical students from 10 medical education faculties across Australian universities.


Medical students recognised the importance of interprofessional teamwork between general medical practitioners and CM professionals in patient care and described perspectives of shared responsibilities, profession-specific responsibilities, and collaborative approaches within IM. While students identified that limited interprofessional collaboration currently occurred in the medical curriculum, interprofessional education was considered a means of increasing communication and collaboration between healthcare professionals, helping coordinate effective patient care, and understanding each healthcare team members’ professional role and value.


The findings suggest that medical curricula should include opportunities for medical students to develop required skills, behaviours, and attitudes for interprofessional collaboration and interprofessional education within the context of IM. While this is a qualitative study that reflects theoretical saturation from a selected cohort of medical students, the results also point to the importance of including CM professionals within interprofessional collaboration, thus contributing to more person-centred care.


An Australian Postgraduate Award was accepted to undertake this doctoral research. An Australian Postgraduate Publication Award was accepted to write up this manuscript.

Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: None declared.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Competing interests: The funding organisation(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2016-1-4
Accepted: 2016-5-6
Published Online: 2016-7-12
Published in Print: 2016-12-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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