COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

A comparison of interprofessional perceptions and working relationships among health and social care students: the results of a 3-year intervention

Katherine C Pollard, Margaret E Miers, Mollie Gilchrist, Adrian Sayers
Health & Social Care in the Community 2006, 14 (6): 541-52
17059496
A longitudinal quantitative study in an English faculty of health and social care explored the effects of a pre-qualifying interprofessional curriculum for students from 10 professional programmes. Students on the interprofessional curriculum completed questionnaires containing four attitude scales on entry to the faculty, during their second year and at the end of their final year. At qualification, 581 students (76.9% of those qualifying) completed scales concerning their communication and teamwork skills, their attitudes towards interprofessional learning, their perceptions of interaction between health and social care professionals, and their opinions about their own (inter)professional relationships. Questionnaires were completed at both entry and qualification by 526 students (69.8% of those qualifying), and at all three points by 468 students (61.9% of those qualifying). A comparison group of 250 students (67.6% of those qualifying) on the previous uniprofessional curricula also completed questionnaires at qualification. Students on the interprofessional curriculum showed no significant change in their self-assessment of their communication and teamwork skills between entering the faculty and qualification. However, there was a negative shift in their attitudes to interprofessional learning and interprofessional interaction. Nevertheless, most students were positive about their own professional relationships at qualification. Students with previous experience of higher education were comparatively positive about their communication and teamwork skills, as were female students about interprofessional learning. However, the strongest influence on students' attitudes at qualification appeared to be professional programme. This suggests that interprofessional education does not inhibit the development of profession-specific attitudes. Students who qualified on the interprofessional curriculum were more positive about their own professional relationships than those who qualified on the previous uniprofessional curricula. These data suggest that experiencing an interprofessional curriculum has an effect on students' attitudes at qualification, particularly with regard to their positive perception of their own professional relationships.

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