Creative Futures: Living with Parkinson’s Disease – Experiential learning beyond the classroom

Showcase Presenter: Helen Gaeta

A growing body of research evidence shows better health outcomes occur when health care is client-centred within an interprofessional framework. Health students who adopt this health care model are likely to be sought after in the health workforce, as the future drivers of better health care practice. 

This showcase reports on a work-integrated learning programme that offers health students the opportunity to learn experientially within this framework. The programme is delivered at the AUT Integrated Health, using a co-design approach within an interprofessional framework. 

Students from several health disciplines work collaboratively with clinical educators and clients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease to co-design a programme that empowers the clients to live with Parkinson’s disease. Previous iterations of the programme have used a client-centred, interprofessional framework. The current iteration adds a co-design feature, which enhances practice of a client-centred philosophy. This approach challenges students to apply their theoretical knowledge, to tailor a whole person approach of individualised care. 

The co-design community is comprised of twelve students from four health disciplines, four staff members and six clients diagnosed with PD. Collaboratively they plan, implement and deliver the programme Creative Futures: Living with Parkinson’s Disease. Each session ends with a discussion on changes/adaptations for the next session and reflection on the current iteration through forward thinking. Students engage in academic work prescribed by the work-integrated learning programme, overseen by their health discipline. At the least, each student writes weekly reflections on the clinical sessions. These become part of their e-portfolios available to them for use when applying for future employment.

Attendees at this showcase will experience a flipped classroom model, beginning with a challenge for the audience to co-design the structure of the session, drawing on their own and varying disciplines. The flipped approach sets up a client-centred, co-design community, reflective of employment practice.  

Helen Gaeta is a Senior lecturer in Interprofessional Health Studies. Her educational philosophy emerges from her research in cognitive neuroscience. She believes brain networks underpinning new learning are best exercised to develop when a person is placed in an immersive experiential space. This informs her teaching practice.