Changes in student attitudes toward interprofessional learning and collaboration arising from a case-based educational experience

Robert Wellmon, Barbara Gilin, Linda Knauss, Margaret Inman Linn
Journal of Allied Health 2012, 41 (1): 26-34
Working effectively with other disciplines is an important and necessary skill for healthcare practitioners. Academic institutions can provide educational experiences that can begin to foster the prerequisite competencies needed to collaborate successfully with other healthcare professionals. The purpose of this study was to examine changes in attitudes toward learning from and collaborating with other healthcare students and professionals arising from an interprofessional educational (IPE) experience. A total of 123 graduate students from clinical psychology (n = 35), education (n = 17), physical therapy (n = 36), and social work (n = 35) were enrolled in the study and participated in a 6-hour IPE experience designed to improve their understanding of the roles played by other healthcare professionals on teams and to teach the skills necessary to effectively collaborate. Attitudes toward learning from and collaborating with other disciplines were examined prior to and immediately after an IPE experience using the Interdisciplinary Education Preparation Scale (IEPS), the Readiness for Professional Learning Scale (RIPLS), and the Attitudes Toward Healthcare Teams Scales (ATHCTS). A 4 (discipline) 3 2 (pre- vs post-IPE) repeated measures ANOVA was used to investigate between- and within-group differences. Statistical significance was set at p ≤ 0.05 for all primary analyses, and post hoc differences for any statistically significant ANOVA findings were explored using a Bonferroni procedure. Statistically significant increases in post-IPE scores on the IEPS, RIPLS, and ATHCTS were found, indicating positive changes in attitudes toward learning from and collaborating with graduate students and other healthcare professionals. A well-structured educational experience, consisting of 6 hours of interprofessional interaction, can change student attitudes toward learning from and collaborating with peers in other healthcare disciplines prior to graduation and professional licensure. The current study provides evidence that a relatively short educational intervention implemented prior to graduation can positively change attitudes toward learning and collaboration.

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