IPE professional development - practice scenarios

These IPE clinical scenarios aim to enhance understanding of other professionals’ roles and responsibilities and to promote insights into the value of teamwork and collaboration. They integrate the theories of IPE into the practical context.  These small group activities can be used by clinical supervisors/educators for ongoing professional development, or offered to students to complete ahead of their placement.


Scenario Activity One

Harry Smith, a 79 year old married man diagnosed with stage 3 mesothelioma is about to be discharged from hospital and admitted to a hospice for palliative care. Mr Smith was exposed to asbestos over 25 years ago while working in the construction business. Until his admission to the hospital, he has managed to live fairly independently at home with the assistance of his wife and a community nursing team. Mr Smith is concerned that the hospital won’t pass on the results of his latest diagnostic tests. He is also concerned that his doctor for the past 10 years may no longer have the time to provide him with follow-up treatment of his ongoing symptoms. Mr Smith is demanding to know who is in charge of his care and transfer to the hospice.


For multi-professional learners, ask them to do the following:

1. First, develop your preliminary care plan for Mr Smith that will aim to ease his transition to hospice care. Do this from an individual professional’s perspective.

2. In multi-professional small groups, share your care plans with each other.

3. Now develop another care plan based on your shared perspectives.


Reflective questions

1. In what ways do the individual care plans differ from the collaboratively produced ones?

2. While developing the collaborative care plan, what types of things have you learned about the roles and responsibilities of others involved in Mr Smith’s care?

3. What differences in care and communication might Mr Smith and his family notice between the individually produced care plans and the collaboratively developed one?

4. What have you learned from this activity?

(Taken from HETI, 2012, p. 61)


Scenario Activity Two

A client has been seen by a private physiotherapist for four weeks and their knee pain has not been improving.  They may need to see an Orthopaedic Surgeon.  The physiotherapist needs to write a referral to the Orthopaedic Surgeon. Prior to doing this, he/she refers for an MRI of the client’s knee. The physiotherapist also writes to the original referrer, the client’s GP to provide feedback on the intervention and client outcomes to date.  The physiotherapist also advises the client to see their pharmacist when collecting the script for the pain medications to ensure the client is receiving the best possible doses at the best possible times of day. 

The client divulges to the physiotherapist that this problem is starting to affect their mood and ability to complete everyday activities, specifically paid employment and assistance with domestic duties.  After years of being actively involved in sport and recreation, they are starting to feel unwell and unfit as a result of such a long period of inactivity.

 Reflective questions

1. What are some examples of Interprofessional Practice that you can identify in the above scenario?

2. While developing the collaborative care plan, who else might the physiotherapist involve in the client’s care?

3. What have you learned from this activity?


In this video, an Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapy student complete a debrief session following a case conference that shows ideas of how an interprofessional session might occur. You could use this discussion as a model to facilitate IPE learning with your students.


Health Education Training Institute (2012). The Learning Guide – A handbook for allied health professionals facilitating learning in the workplace. Sydney: HETI. Retrieved from


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