Students at Faculty of Health and School of Pharmacy have been working with recovering alcoholics and their families to increase knowledge, understanding of working together across professions and agencies. An estimated 35,000 people in Norfolk alone have a mild, moderate or severe alcohol dependency.
During a half-day workshop organised by the Centre for Interprofessional Practice (CIPP) at the UEA, final-year students from Faculty of Health and School of Pharmacy in nursing
, occupational therapy
, speech and language therapy
and operating department practice worked together with local members of Alcoholics Anonymous – the support group for alcoholics, and Al-Anon – the support group for family members of alcoholics, and local professionals from the NHS, Social Services and the Police to discuss issues relating to alcohol abuse.
Dr Susanne Lindqvist, CIPP Director, said, “Bringing healthcare students together with local professionals and service users in this way provided a three-way learning experience which we believe will help promote more effective ways for healthcare professionals and support agencies to work together and tackle the problems associated with alcohol abuse.”
Students listened to the personal experiences of recovering alcoholics and their families concerning their active addiction and the problems that it caused, and then heard from professionals about their experiences of working with alcohol abusers.
Andrea Nunney from the local NHS Trust’s Alcohol and Drug Service (TADS), a delegate at the workshop, said “The workshop was both valuable and significant for student health professionals who gained considerable insight into the complex and challenging nature of alcohol misuse”.
A local recovering alcoholic added “This is the third such event that we have attended, and we feel that these seminars provide a great opportunity for healthcare students and professionals to find out more about what Alcoholics Anonymous is and what it can offer. It is very useful for professional people working with alcoholics to know that Alcoholics Anonymous is present locally and that it can be accessed by their clients at no cost to them, to the taxpayer or to the NHS.”
Jana Novosadova, a student Operating Department Practitioner, who attended the workshop said “I appreciated the workshop on alcohol abuse. It gave me the opportunity to meet very interesting people and hear real life stories”.
In addition to offering workshops for students, CIPP offers workshops and other interventions for professionals. Their aim is to help local professionals improve the services available to the public with a specific focus on developing more effective and efficient practices through interprofessional/inter-agency teamworking.