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Abstract

Purpose: Interprofessional collaboration is recognized as a healthcare practice paradigm that may decrease overall costs and minimize errors. Yet it remains common for practitioners to provide care within silos, inadequately considering the impact of their decisions on other providers and overall costs, which ultimately may negatively impact the patient. Integrating interprofessional collaboration in school curricula can establish the importance of this approach to healthcare. For optimal efficacy, every professional in the healthcare team must recognize their unique role and the roles of others, to allow for seamless interprofessional collaboration. Simulation is a teaching tool that provides students with the opportunity to experience and reflect upon their responses to real-world clinical encounters in an environment that is safe to them and to patients. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the effect of interprofessional simulation on occupational therapy and physical therapy students’ role clarity and perceived readiness for collaborative practice. Method: A mixed methods study design was used with occupational and physical therapy students matriculated in the same college. Two surveys were given to the participants pre- and post-interprofessional simulation: the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS; evaluates student readiness for interprofessional learning) and the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS; evaluates student perceptions of interprofessional training). Focus groups followed the interprofessional simulation to explore the subjects’ experience. Results: Statistically significant changes were noted in the RIPLS pre-post simulation. Five themes emerged from the focus groups including: students value simulation; students value interprofessional education; interprofessional experience facilitates an understanding of role clarity; teamwork has value and challenges; and, students value providing patient centered care. Conclusion: Simulation is a teaching resource that may prepare occupational therapy and physical therapy students for interprofessional collaboration in patient care. The results of this study can inform interprofessional curricular development for both occupational therapy and physical therapy programs.

Author Bio(s)

Shira Schecter Weiner, PhD, PT, CIE, is a Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Touro College. Dr. Weiner has been a physical therapist for 37 years and with 20 years of experience in research in research and academia.

Laura Hagan PT, PhD, DPT, MS is the associate director and instructor for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Touro College. Dr. Hagan has been a practicing physical therapist for the past 19 years and has 15 years of experience in academia and research.

Julie Kardachi OTD, OTR/L, CLA is the Associate Chair of Academic Coordination and Associate Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program at Touro College. Dr. Kardachi has been an occupational therapist for 38 years and has 19 years of experience in academia and research.

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the Presidential Research Development Grant, Touro College, New York, NY.

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