Preparing rehabilitation healthcare providers in the 21st century: implementation of interprofessional education through an academic-clinical site partnership

Michael Sheldon, James T Cavanaugh, William Croninger, Wendy Osgood, Regi Robnett, Janice Seigle, Linda Simonsen
Work: a Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation 2012, 41 (3): 269-75

OBJECTIVE: Health profession education programs often struggle with barriers to implementing interprofesssional educational (IPE) initiatives, limiting early and consistent exposure of students to core IPE competencies. Few published reports are available to guide the implementation of IPE programs into practice. This article describes a successful and evolving partnership between an independent university and a tertiary care hospital. The IPE goals of this partnership were to expose students to roles of other disciplines in the complex hospital environment and integrate acute care exposure throughout the Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy curricula.

RESULTS: Faculty and students, patients and families, and occupational and physical therapy clinicians participated in a series of learning activities in an acute care setting involving interprofessional teams of students. Activities included observations of OT and PT clinicians providing standard patient care, practice conducting team patient interviews, and interactive treatment planning sessions conducted live via videoconferencing technology between a patient's hospital room and an academic classroom on the university campus. The activities generally were designed to improve student preparedness for working as part of an interprofessional team in an acute care setting.

CONCLUSIONS: Student and clinician feedback support the early development of student IPE competencies, including the appreciation and understanding of professional roles in the team approach to patient care and the development of effective communication skills. The partnership between the academic institution and tertiary care hospital is an effective vehicle to deliver and sustain IPE educational initiatives in the acute care setting. Current and planned IPE curriculum integration are discussed along with a preliminary analysis of IPE outcomes.

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