An approach to integrating interprofessional education in collaborative mental health care

Vernon Curran, Olga Heath, Tanis Adey, Terrance Callahan, David Craig, Taryn Hearn, Hubert White, Ann Hollett
Academic Psychiatry 2012 March 1, 36 (2): 91-5

OBJECTIVE: This article describes an evaluation of a curriculum approach to integrating interprofessional education (IPE) in collaborative mental health practice across the pre- to post-licensure continuum of medical education.

METHODS: A systematic evaluation of IPE activities was conducted, utilizing a combination of evaluation study designs, including: pretest-posttest control group; one-group pre-test-post-test; and one-shot case study. Participant satisfaction, attitudes toward teamwork, and self-reported teamwork abilities were key evaluative outcome measures.

RESULTS: IPE in collaborative mental health practice was well received at both the pre- and post-licensure levels. Satisfaction scores were very high, and students, trainees, and practitioners welcomed the opportunity to learn about collaboration in the context of mental health. Medical student satisfaction increased significantly with the introduction of standardized patients (SPs) as an interprofessional learning method. Medical students and faculty reported that experiential learning in practice-based settings is a key component of effective approaches to IPE implementation. At a post-licensure level, practitioners reported significant improvement in attitudes toward interprofessional collaboration in mental health care after participation in IPE.

CONCLUSION: IPE in collaborative mental health is feasible, and mental health settings offer practical and useful learning experiences for students, trainees, and practitioners in interprofessional collaboration.

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