Purpose: Healthcare professionals strive for interprofessional practice to achieve optimal patient care. Extant research suggests that to best prepare students for interprofessional practice, interprofessional education (IPE) should be a key element in curriculum. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to evaluate the impact of an IPE activity on participants’ attitudes and perceptions of IPE across five academic programs. Methods: This study utilized a modified version of the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale Questionnaire (RIPLS) pre and post IPE and reflective essays. Participants included 67 students from nursing, occupational therapy, athletic training, dietetics, and speech-language pathology programs. After reviewing a hypothetical case study, participants collaboratively developed assessment and treatment recommendations. Questionnaires were analyzed using statistical procedures and reflective essays underwent thematic analysis. Results: Collectively, data revealed significant changes in participants’ perceptions, attitudes, and implementation readiness. Occupational therapy student participants had statistically significant increases in the RIPLS composite score, Teamwork and Collaboration, and the Positive Professional Identity components (p≤0.03). Participants with previous IPE experience scored 4-points higher on the RIPLS composite score (p=0.03). The reflective essays revealed the themes of barriers associated with collaboration, a deeper understanding and appreciation of other discipline’s roles and the value of teamwork in achieving optimal patient care. Participants reported beginning the interprofessional education experience with anxiety and uncertainty about not only their involvement but also the roles of other healthcare professionals. Throughout the experience, participants emerged with an increased knowledge of their role, others’ roles, and the value of working together within a professional setting to achieve the same goal, optimal patient care. Conclusions: Our findings reveal the benefits of interprofessional education and the necessity to include several healthcare professionals associated with rehabilitation in interprofessional research and education. With more disciplines represented, students receive a broader, more in-depth understanding of not only patient care but also the roles of multiple disciplines they will collaborate with during actual rehabilitative practice.
The authors wish to thank the participants for their time and contribution as well as Dr. Dana Howell for guidance with data analysis and continual support of interprofessional education.
Page CG, Christopher K, Simpkins LS, Humphrey CE, Jones LG, Sciascia AD. “Where I am weak, they are strong”: Students’ Perceptions and Attitudes Toward Interprofessional Education. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2021 Apr 08;19(2), Article 17.