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Abstract

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.

Author Bio(s)

Christen G. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an Assistant Professor for the Communication Sciences & Disorders program at Eastern Kentucky University. She is a licensed speech-language pathologist with expertise in dementia and aphasia rehabilitation. Her research interests and publications include interprofessional education and quality of life for residents in long-term care.

Karina Christopher, PhD, RD, LD, is an assistant professor for the dietetic program and Director of the Master of Public Health at Eastern Kentucky University. Karina received Young Dietitian of the Year Award from the Kentucky Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Special Contributions Award from the Bluegrass Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Leah Simpkins, OTD, OTR/L, CPAM, is an assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Leah is a licensed occupational therapist, holding dementia provider certification who instructs students at geriatric fieldwork placements, management courses, and online courses. Research and publications focus on interprofessional education, aging-in-place, and therapy animals.

Casey Humphrey, OTD, MHA, OTR/L, CBIS, CDRS, is an assistant professor for the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at Eastern Kentucky University. She is a licensed occupational therapist with expertise in brain injury rehabilitation, driving rehabilitation, and health administration. Her research interests and publications focus on Parkinson’s Disease rehabilitation and interprofessional education.

Lisa Jones, PhD, RN, CCRN, is the Associate Chair and an Associate Professor in the Department of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing at Eastern Kentucky University. She holds baccalaureate and masters degrees in nursing from Eastern Kentucky University and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Kentucky.

Aaron Sciascia, PhD, ATC, PES, is an associate professor in the Athletic Training Program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also serves as adjunct faculty for Moravian College’s MSAT and DAT programs in Bethlehem, PA. Aaron has produced multiple peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to function, evaluation, and treatment of the shoulder.

Acknowledgements

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.

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