From students to professionals: results of a longitudinal study of attitudes to pre-qualifying collaborative learning and working in health and social care in the United Kingdom

Katherine C Pollard, Margaret E Miers
Journal of Interprofessional Care 2008, 22 (4): 399-416
During a longitudinal evaluation of a pre-qualifying interprofessional curriculum, health and social care students completed questionnaires concerning communication and teamwork skills and interprofessional learning and working. Data were collected on entry to their educational programme, during the second year of study, at qualification and after 9-12 months' qualified practice. This paper presents results from practice data from 414 professionals; 275 were educated on the interprofessional curriculum, 139 on previous uniprofessional curricula. The former were more confident at qualification about their communicative skills, their interprofessional relationships and other professionals' interaction, and showed positive correlations between perceptions of their relevant skills and their interprofessional relationships. They were also more positive about their interprofessional relationships than practitioners educated on uniprofessional curricula. Age and previous experience of higher education influenced professionals' attitudes negatively: mature individuals may require more support when entering the workforce. Between qualification and practice, respondents from the interprofessional cohorts grew more critical of interprofessional education. However, experience of interprofessional education appears to produce and sustain positive attitudes towards collaborative working, suggesting that individuals' perceptions of their own educational experience are inadequate as an evaluative measure of interprofessional learning initiatives. This study reinforces the argument for including IPE in pre-qualifying curricula.

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