Aims Multidisciplinary team working is well established within child health services. We set up a Paediatric Society open to all healthcare undergraduate students to foster their interest in child health and improve their understanding of multidisciplinary working. This study explored views on multidisciplinary team working among the new Society’s members.
Methods With support from senior paediatricians at the medical school, a committee was elected to establish the Paediatric Society. Healthcare students from across the University were then recruited through the Student’s Union website.
All those recruited were emailed a short online survey about their views and experience of multidisciplinary team working. They were asked specifically whether they had had previous contact with students or staff from core child health disciplines including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Responses were anonymised and results analysed using Microsoft Excel.
Results 148 members were recruited between September and November 2013. Members primarily include students from undergraduate courses in Medicine, Child Nursing, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Dentistry and Radiotherapy & Oncology.
74/148 (50%) Society members responded to the survey. All respondents valued multidisciplinary team working highly, with 74 (100%) rating its importance at 4/5 or above on a Likert scale. However, 62/74 (84%) respondents reported little or no previous contact with at least two members of the core multidisciplinary paediatric team. This included contact with either students or staff from each discipline.
Conclusions This study demonstrates clear support for multidisciplinary working amongst healthcare students. Despite this, most report that they have had little opportunity to meet students or staff members working in different disciplines.
Our multidisciplinary Paediatric Society promotes networking amongst healthcare students interested in child health. Through integrated events such as educational symposia and volunteering schemes, we can increase students’ understanding of the different roles within the multidisciplinary paediatric team.
The multidisciplinary nature of our Society and its activities is an innovative concept. We believe this provides an invaluable learning opportunity for students, reflecting and promoting the team working and holistic approach essential in paediatrics.