Purpose: Interprofessional education (IPE) engages health care professional students in order to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of a health care practitioner. IPE can be challenging to execute; however, exposing students early in their professional education in IPE has positive results. Occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) are health care professions who commonly work with each other. The purpose of this study is to describe the process and outcomes of implementing an IPE experience with first year doctoral OT (OTD) and PT (DPT) students completed within the first six weeks of the first semester of their respective programs. Methods: Ninety-one (31 OTD, 60 DPT) students were placed in small groups and discussed professional identities and interprofessional collaboration among OT/PT during pre-professional observations. Students completed the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS) pre-post-meeting and a written reflection post-meeting. Results: Ninety-one students completed the Pre-RIPLS survey, while only 58 Post-RIPLS were completed (13 OTD, 45 DPT). The response rate was 63.7% overall (41.9% OT and 75% PT). A statistically significant difference was found between pre- to post-test RIPLS score among the entire group (p = 0.013), and the DPT students (p = 0.020), but not the OTD students (p = 0.414). Written reflections included the following themes: influence of personal experiences leading to choice of profession, observations shaping knowledge of the professions, similarities and differences between the two professions, and future collaboration. Conclusion: An IPE activity can be implemented early in the professional education of OTD/DPT students with positive results.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Suzanne Trojanowski, PT, DPT is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Michigan-Flint. She is a Board-Certified in Neurologic Physical Therapy. Her research focuses on interprofessional education and knowledge translation.

Dr. Jillian Woodworth, DrOT, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, with a clinical doctorate in occupational therapy from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Woodworth is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Michigan-Flint. Her research and education focuses on Interprofessional Education (IPE) among students in health science professional programs.

Anna Rose Wiencek, Occupational Therapy Student is a second year student in the OTD program at the University of Michigan-Flint. Anna Rose received her bachelors from the University of Idaho in Exercise Science and Health with a minor in Psychology. Anna Rose works as a GSRA for Dr. Jillian Woodworth.

Dr. Amy Yorke, PT, PhD is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of Community Engagement in the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Michigan-Flint. She is Board Certified in Neurologic Physical Therapy. Her research focuses on knowledge translation, outcome assessment in rehabilitation practice, and interprofessional education and collaboration.





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