A mixed-methods study of interprofessional learning of resuscitation skills

Paul Bradley, Simon Cooper, Fiona Duncan
Medical Education 2009, 43 (9): 912-22

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to identify the effects of interprofessional resuscitation skills teaching on medical and nursing students' attitudes, leadership, team-working and performance skills.

METHODS: Year 2 medical and nursing students learned resuscitation skills in uniprofessional or interprofessional settings, prior to undergoing observational ratings of video-recorded leadership, teamwork and skills performance and subsequent focus group interviews. The Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS) was administered pre- and post-intervention and again 3-4 months later.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference between interprofessional and uniprofessional teams for leadership, team dynamics or resuscitation tasks performance. Gender, previous interprofessional learning experience, professional background and previous leadership experience had no significant effect. Interview analysis showed broad support for interprofessional education (IPE) matched to clinical reality with perceived benefits for teamwork, communication and improved understanding of roles and perspectives. Concerns included inappropriate role adoption, hierarchy issues, professional identity and the timing of IPE episodes. The RIPLS subscales for professional identity and team-working increased significantly post-intervention for interprofessional groups but returned to pre-test levels by 3-4 months. However, interviews showed interprofessional groups retained a 'residual positivity' towards IPE, more so than uniprofessional groups.

CONCLUSIONS: An intervention based on common, relevant, shared learning outcomes set in a realistic educational context can work with students who have differing levels of previous IPE and skills training experience. Qualitatively, positive attitudes outlast quantitative changes measured using the RIPLS. Further quantitative and qualitative work is required to examine other domains of learning, the timing of interventions and impact on attitudes towards IPE.

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