Effects of interprofessional rural training on students' perceptions of interprofessional health care services

Keli Mu, Chun C Chao, Gail M Jensen, Charlotte B Royeen
Journal of Allied Health 2004, 33 (2): 125-31
Interprofessional training has been advocated in the education of students in health care professions to facilitate collaboration and cooperation among health care providers. This study reported on one facet of the outcomes of a larger grant project funded by the Department of Health and Human Services HRSA grant #1-D36 AH 10082-03, which aimed to develop a new and innovative model for interprofessional student training. Over the 3-year period of the project, a total of 111 students from allied health professions including occupational therapy, physical therapy, and pharmacy participated in the project training. Participants' perceptions on interprofessional service were assessed before and after they participated in the project by the Interprofessional Education Perception Scale. Results of a univariate repeated measures two-way analysis of variance revealed a significant increase in participants' positive perceptions regarding interprofessional practice after they participated in the project (p < 0.05), and the significant increases were independent of the duration of the training (p < 0.01 for short-term and long-term training). A significant interaction between the duration of the training and pretest and posttest scores of the participants was found (p < 0.05) and students who participated in long-term training reported more positive attitudes on the posttest. These encouraging findings are supported and strengthened further by the qualitative data of the study, suggesting the training project has a significant impact on allied health students' perceptual attitudes toward interprofessional service delivery. Findings of the study are discussed related to the improvement of quality care and to the recruitment and retentions of health care providers in rural and underserved areas.

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