Health professions students' perceptions of interprofessional relationships

Cheryl Hawk, Kathleen Buckwalter, Lori Byrd, Susan Cigelman, Lorraine Dorfman, Kristi Ferguson
Academic Medicine 2002, 77 (4): 354-7

PURPOSE: To make a preliminary assessment of the perceptions of health professions students about interprofessional cooperation.

METHOD: Health professions students (588 students from eight professions) at the Iowa Geriatric Education Center's partner institutions received a questionnaire of demographics questions and the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS). The IEPS is an 18-item questionnaire that uses a six-point Likert-type scale to measure attitudes toward interprofessional cooperation on four factors: competence and autonomy, perceived need for cooperation, perception of actual cooperation, and understanding others' value.

RESULTS: Total mean IEPS scores differed significantly among professional groups (p =.001), with physician assistant students scoring highest (most positive attitudes) and chiropractic students scoring lowest. The medical students' mean total score was significantly lower than was that of physician assistant students (p =.003) and higher than was that of chiropractic students (p =.000), but medical students' scores did not differ significantly at the alpha =.05 level from those of osteopathy, physical therapy, nursing, podiatry, or social work students.

CONCLUSION: This study provides the first normative data for the IEPS for students from these eight health professions. This instrument may be valuable when designing an evaluation scheme for training programs that have interdisciplinary components, which may be increasingly prevalent in the future.

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