Beginning the process of teamwork: design, implementation and evaluation of an inter-professional education intervention for first year undergraduate students

Helen Cooper, Eileen Spencer-Dawe, Elspeth McLean
Journal of Interprofessional Care 2005, 19 (5): 492-508
An evidence-based interprofessional educational (IPE) intervention involving first year undergraduate students studying medicine, nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy was piloted at the University of Liverpool. Campbell's phased approach and Complexity Theory guided development of the intervention and its evaluation. The intervention included a staff-training programme, e-learning materials and interprofessional team working skills workshops. A multi method study design was used to evaluate outcomes and the processes by which the outcomes had transpired. The first year cohort of students (n=442) was invited to attend the pilots. Fifty-four per cent (n=237) opted to attend. Findings showed that the intervention promoted theoretical learning about team working. It enabled the students to learn with and from each other (p<0.001), it significantly raised awareness about collaborative practice (p<0.05), and its link to improving the effectiveness of care delivery (p<0.01). The qualitative data showed that it served to increase students' confidence in their own professional identity and helped them to value difference making them better prepared for clinical placement. The findings support the need to start IPE early in students' training before professional doctrines have been built into their learning. As a result of the findings, the intervention has become compulsory for students to attend and the project has evolved to include trained service users/carers as co-facilitators of the workshops. It is also working on strengthening e-learning by integrating the generic materials into the curricula of all courses. Alongside this, strategies are being explored for interprofessional learning in practice.

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