Authors: Jennifer Loke, Derek Coluquhoun and Kah Wai Lee
Abstract: In the growing importance of interprofessional education for quality patient care, asynchronous text-based computer mediated conferencing has emerged as a popular pedagogic tool for interprofessional learning in healthcare education. In the United Kingdom at post-qualifying level, the tool is often used without it being part of any blended learning approach. The tool was popular for its asynchronicity and flexibility, which allowed the majority of nurses and other allied healthcare professionals to be able to access interprofessional learning in higher education. However, this form of learning lacks the face-to-face element and learning relies solely on the discursive practices and language used by online participants. Yet embedded in nursing language are power-relations that interprofessional learning with nurses may be negatively affected. This qualitative study used critical discourse analysis to establish the way interprofessional learning occurred between nurses and allied healthcare professionals. Data for analysis were obtained from the online discussions of an interprofessional text-based module at Master’s level. Based on critical discourse analysis of the online discussions, nurses in special role functions were considered to be ‘caring’ in their approach to discussions, but to an extent whereby interprofessional learning was negatively affected. Whilst appreciating that the notion of caring is central to nursing, this study recommends for caring to be exercised with caution, particularly if it was rendered in an interprofessional learning environment.
Keywords: allied healthcare professionals, asynchronous text-based computer mediated conferencing, caring, critical discourse analysis, interprofessional online learning, nurses, post-qualifying healthcare education