Interprofessional learning at work: what spatial theory can tell us about workplace learning in an acute care ward

Linda Rosemary Gregory, Nick Hopwood, David Boud
  • Journal of Interprofessional Care, January 2014, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.3109/13561820.2013.873774

Interprofessional learning at work from a spatial point of view

What is it about?

It is widely recognized that every workplace potentially provides a rich source of learning. Studies focusing on health care contexts have shown that social interaction within and between professions is crucial in enabling professionals to learn through work, address problems and cope with challenges of clinical practice. While hospital environments are beginning to be understood in spatial terms, the links between space and interprofessional learning at work have not been explored. This paper draws on Lefebvre’s tri-partite theoretical framework of perceived, conceived and lived space to enrich understandings of interprofessional learning on an acute care ward in an Australian teaching hospital. Qualitative analysis was undertaken using data from observations of Registered Nurses at work and semi-structured interviews linked to observed events. The paper focuses on a ward round, the medical workroom and the Registrar’s room, comparing and contrasting the intended (conceived), practiced (perceived) and pedagogically experienced (lived) spatial dimensions. The paper concludes that spatial theory has much to offer understandings of interprofessional learning in work, and the features of work environments and daily practices that produce spaces that enable or constrain learning.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Nick Hopwood