Interprofessional Education

Category: Research, Teaching

Updated 2016 Tierney Kinnison


Veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses work closely together on a daily basis. Their effectiveness in a practice depends not only on clinical skill, knowledge and expertise, but also on the ability to function well at an interprofessional level.


Veterinary Interprofessional Education resources (vIPEr) Project

With funding from VETNET Lifelong Learning Network (2009/2010), a team of educationalists, veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses at the RVC undertook a project to develop two interprofessional resources and research their effects on the students’ readiness for interprofessional learning. These resources are now used at the RVC with the BSc veterinary nursing students and veterinary students. Descriptions of how to use the resources along with powerpoint slides and handouts are also available so that other institutions can utilise these resources:

 Talking Walls

Talking Walls (Parsell, Gibbs and Bligh, 1998) is a simple technique adapted from commercial situations of exploring issues. It is used in this case to encourage students to start discussions with members of profession/s they will work with in the future. In small groups, students are asked to write down the roles of the ‘other profession’ i.e. vets if they are a veterinary nurse and vice versa. The students are then allowed to see what the other profession really thought about their profession’s roles, and are encouraged to discuss any inaccuracies and try to overcome any misconceptions.

IPE Talking Walls Teaching Resource - for staff

IPE Talking Walls - for students

IPE Talking Walls Presentation

To read more about running a Talking Walls session, you can read our paper:

Kinnison, T., Lumbis, R., Orpet, H., Gregory, S., Baillie, S. 2012. How to run Talking Walls: an interprofessional education resource. The Veterinary Nurse 3(1): 4 - 11

 The Emergency Case Role Play

In pairs, students carry out an emergency case (cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation – CPCR) role play. Each pair is made up of one veterinary surgeon and one veterinary nurse. They are introduced to the scenario by a facilitator who then observes as they carry out CPCR. The facilitator gives feedback highlighting the interprofessional points that arose as well as any significant steps that were missed (based on a CPCR flowchart). The flowchart was created through cognitive task analysis (CTA) of training sessions in a teaching hospital and discussions with practitioners.

IPE Emergency Case Teaching Resource - for staff

IPE CPCR Flowchart - for students: Please e-mail for a copy of this document.

IPE Emergency Case Presentation

What follows is a brief account of the research aspect of the vIPEr project and a description of a PhD on veterinary interprofessional interactions and education, being undertaken by Miss Tierney Kinnison at the Institute of Education and the RVC, LIVE.

 vIPEr Research

To evaluate the two resources at the RVC, an adapted version of the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning (RIPLS) Scale, developed by Parsell and Bligh (1999) and validated in a study by Reid et al. (2006), was used. This veterinary version is provided here with the kind permission of Ross Reid.

Veterinary RIPLS Questionnaire

The results of the survey demonstrated an immediate positive change in attitude after participating in one of the resource interventions which highlights the students' willingness to learn collaboratively and reduced hierarchical views. However, this change in attitude reduced after 4-5months, though remained above pre-intervention levels, highlighting the need for further research into veterinary interprofessional education. Further information on this study can be found via our publication:

Kinnison, T., Lumbis, R., Orpet, H., Welsh, P., Gregory, S., Baillie, S. Piloting Interprofessional Education Interventions with Veterinary and Veterinary Nursing Students. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education (2011), 38(3): 311-318.


Online Tools

An Introduction to Interprofessional Education - Learning about, from and with the veterinary team

A collaborative project between the Royal Veterinary College, LIVE (Tierney Kinnison), the University of Bristol (Sarah Baillie) and the University of Nottingham (Liz Mossop) has created a free online tool to introduce students of all veterinary occupations and professions to the concept of interprofessional working and education. Interprofessional education is not currently available for all students and there are many logistical challenges with delivering this type of learning. This free online tool offers students a first step towards interprofessional education.

The tool can be accessed here.

Funding was provided by the National Teaching Fellowship Award (Sarah Baillie) and the RVC while access to Xerte and support was provided through the University of Nottingham.


A short talk on interprofessional teamwork, including tips for veterinary students to develop their learning, has been created. It is available as part of the VetTalks initiative. 

The talk can be accessed here.


Veterinary Interprofessional Education PhD

The Bloomsbury Colleges Studentships (University of London) funded a PhD into veterinary interprofessional working, learning and education. This PhD was undertaken by Tierney Kinnison during the period 2012-2016 and was joint between the Institute of Education (UCL) and the LIVE Centre, RVC. Tierney used mixed methods to gain insights into veterinary interprofessional (team) interactions and investigated the implications for interprofessional education (IPE) in the veterinary curricula. Tierney was supervised by Professor David Guile (IoE) and Professor Stephen May (RVC).

Several papers have been published from Tierney's PhD regarding the rise of interprofessional working, the use of Social Network Analysis to map interactions, poor interprofessional communication leading to error and facilitators and challenges to interprofessional working in the veterinary field:

  • Kinnison, T., May, S.A., Guile, D. 2014. Inter-Professional Practice: From Veterinarian to the Veterinary Team. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 41 (2): 172-178.
  • Kinnison, T., May, S.A., Guile, D. 2015. Veterinary team interactions, part one: the practice effect. Veterinary Record: 177, 419.
  • Kinnison, T., Guile, D., May, S.A. 2015. Veterinary team interactions, part two: the personal effect. Veterinary Record: 177, 541.
  • Kinnison, T., Guile, D., May, S.A. 2015. Errors in veterinary practice: preliminary lessons for building better veterinary teams. Veterinary Record: 177, 492.
  • Kinnison, T., Guile, D., May, S.A. 2016. The Case of Veterinary Interprofessional Practice: From One Health to a World of its Own. Journal of Interprofessional Education and Practice, 4: 51-57.
  • Kinnison, T., May, S.A. 2016. Evidence-Based Healthcare: The Importance of Effective Interprofessional Working for High Quality Veterinary Services, a UK Example. Veterinary Evidence, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 4, nov. 2016. doi:

If you would like to contact Tierney about her work, please email her at



Parsell, G., Gibbs, T. and Bligh, J. 1998. Three visual techniques to enhance interprofessional learning. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 74: 387-390.

Reid, R., Bruce, D. Allstaff, K. and McLernon, D. 2006. Validating the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS) in the postgraduate context: Are health care professionals ready for IPL? Medical Education, 40: 415–422.