The Well Athlete project: A community-based interprofessional clinical placement / Symposium B

Background: Educational approaches that prepare the health workforce for new models of care include opportunities for team-based community care. The aim of this study was to develop a program that promoted the health of the local community and interprofessional learning (IPL) for health students.

Method: The Well Athlete project comprised health checks for players from a local rugby league team. Students from osteopathy, nursing and exercise physiology were invited to participate. Collated patient data were used to identify patients requiring referral and to make recommendations for ongoing care. Students and supervisors were invited to complete the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning questionnaire and to participate in a series of focus groups. Patient and survey data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: The Well Athlete project required high levels of organisation and co-ordination and a common assessment form. The project contributed to early detection of potential health threats, including cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and risks for musculoskeletal injuries. Students enjoyed participating in an authentic clinical placement that contributed to the health of the local community. Most participants valued the shared learning experience for improving communication, problem-solving and team skills, but found little opportunity for constructive feedback, particularly in relation to patient management across disciplines.

Conclusion: This project presents an innovative partnership between a local football team and a university which widened participation of both academic and local communities. Educational approaches are also needed for participants to learn how to apply their IPL to authentic IP practice that enhances patient outcomes.


Dr Sandra Grace is a senior lecturer and course co-ordinator of the Masters of Osteopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University and a Research Fellow at the Education for Practice Institute, Charles Sturt University. Her roles include enhancing the scholarship and practice of osteopathy through teaching, student supervision, research and publications. She has extensive experience as a practitioner in private practice and as a curriculum developer, teacher and clinical supervisor in higher education. Sandra also has extensive research experience involving interprofessional practice, primary health care, practice-based education, and health service delivery.