Wondergem, Fiona (2011) Developing interprofessional cohesion: a multidisciplinary approach to child and adolescent mental health learning and teaching for pre-registration nurses. In: Nurse Education Today Conference NET 2011, Tuesday 6 - Thursday 8 September 2011, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK.

The drive to deliver cost effective, efficient, innovative and multidisciplinary methods of teaching is now, more
than ever before, firmly at the forefront of curriculum design (Glenn and Leiba, 2010). Two departments at the
University of Huddersfield have joined forces to implement what we believe is an unusual and unique initiative,
not only in the subject matter but also the way it is delivered. Nursing and social work students are brought
together in the classroom, in a bid to engender positive and realistic expectations of multidisciplinary working in
the field of child and adolescent mental health.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s vision for nurse education includes the need for pre-registration nursing
programmes to address the mental health needs of children and adolescents (NMC, 2010; CAMHS Review,
2010). For several years now, two departments at the University of Huddersfield have been working side by side
to deliver a comprehensive module which aims to address the key issues related to identifying and meeting the
mental health needs of children and young people (DoEd, 2005).
This module takes a broad stance in identifying the ways in which child and adolescent mental health and problems
are understood, drawing on previous learning related to human development and examining the influences that
affect these processes to create difficulties, problems and disorder (Rutter and Taylor, 2002; Sutton, 2006). Methods
of assessment and intervention at individual, group and family level are also examined, and current patterns of
service delivery to children, young people with mental health needs are outlined. At the end of the module it is
expected that students are familiar with methods of assessment, intervention and evaluation used in identifying and
addressing mental health issues and are able to describe the nature and range of service delivery available.
The module cohort consists of students from child nursing, mental health nursing and social work routes. Faculty
staff and practitioners from the field of child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) take an active role in
multidisciplinary teaching delivery for an initial period of six weeks. For the final hour of each session, students are
subdivided into smaller multidisciplinary groups and asked to review a case scenario. They are encouraged to
devise ecograms/ecomaps (DH, 2000) to both enable visualisation of the specific circumstances surrounding the
child and stimulate discussion of their initial thoughts. Throughout the following weeks more information is given to
enable the students to build upon or disregard their initial impressions of the case scenario and they are encouraged
to feedback to one another within their multidisciplinary micro-groups. The second half of the semester is profession
specific and looks in greater detail at some of the issues, conditions, scenarios considered in the initial teaching
period and students are taught in their individual professional cohort groups.
Thanks to the involvement of grassroots practitioners throughout the module, the content reflects current practice
and is based on actual experience. The link of theory to practice is clear, and recent case examples illuminate the
application of 'in vivo' of models of working (Grant, 2010).
Similarly the assessment strategy requires students to relate the content of the module to their own experiences
of working with patients/clients (Stickley and Bassett, 2008; WHO, 1992). The aim is that their practice will be
confident and patient/client-focused whenever the mental health needs of children require care (Dogra, 2001;
Dwivedi, 2004; Hill and Maughan, 2000).
Child nursing student feedback regarding the module as a whole is positive and whilst some students
acknowledge they find the initial interdisciplinary work challenging, the majority state that this is due to preconceived
ideas as to the work that social work or mental health professionals undertake.
In conclusion, this presentation will offer a critical appraisal of the utility and effectiveness of interprofessional
learning and teaching strategies.

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