Leadership and Followership in Interprofessional Learning Groups

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Health and Social Care Education across the Commonwealth requires students to develop the skills and knowledge to become collaborative practitioners (WHO 2010). There is a wealth of literature presenting the case for interprofessional learning (IPL) as a means of achieving this vision although there is still ambiguity in relation to the most effective method of delivering IPL. This paper presents a 2-phase research study which took place at Northumbria University (NU) in the UK. The research aimed to understand IPL facilitators’ perceptions of the skills needed for their role (phase 1) and the influence of leadership and followership in an IPE setting (phase 2).

Using grounded theory, phase 1 explored facilitators’ perceptions of IPL facilitation skills. Following ethical approval, nine participants from various health professional backgrounds, were interviewed. Analysis of transcripts yielded 4 data categories: creating and sustaining an IPL group culture (core category); role modelling
an inter professional approach; readiness for IPL facilitation; and drawing on past interprofessional learning and working experiences. The emergent propositional grounded theory suggested participants perceived IPL required skills of ‘transformational interprofessional learning leadership’.

In phase 2 the propositional theory was explored via a case study of a week of IPL activities for all undergraduate health and social care programmes at NU. The data were collected via student interviews, evaluations and a staff focus group. Thematic analysis identified themes of; peer followership; professional identification; role modelling and managing learning. The themes informed the development of a framework of follower roles and behaviours in IPL. The framework and supporting theory will be discussed as a means to prepare staff and students for IPL activities. The research is of significance to nurse and midwifery educators but also to a diverse range of practitioners in differing contexts and has the potential to improve understanding of professional collaborative practice.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2019
EventThe Commonwealth Nurses & Midwives Federation 13th European Regional Conference - Dolmen Hotel, St Paul's Bay, Malta
Duration: 8 Mar 20199 Mar 2019


ConferenceThe Commonwealth Nurses & Midwives Federation 13th European Regional Conference
Abbreviated titleCNMF 2019
CitySt Paul's Bay
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Leadership and Followership in Interprofessional Learning Groups'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this