Jonathan Jacobs, Brigham Young University
Purpose: Evaluate the effect of interprofessional education (IPE) on undergraduate students’ attitudes of IPE, perceptions of working together, and ratings of teamwork. Background: The culture of education prepares healthcare professionals in silos, then expects them to work collaboratively upon graduation. Medical errors, resulting from communication issues, are considered a leading cause of patient death. Interdisciplinary education of future professionals may prevent communication issues and reduce patient deaths. IPE of undergraduates may improve communication of future professionals educated in universities without medical schools. Research Questions: Following a semester-long IPE class: 1. How do students describe their perceptions about ability to, value of, and comfort in working in interprofessional teams? 2. What are students’ ratings of teamwork, interprofessional interactions and relationships? 3. What are students’ attitudes toward IPE and opinion of usefulness of IPE activities? 4. What are the differences between healthcare student groups’ (nursing, dietetics, medical lab science, pre-professional etc.) perceptions of working together, attitudes of IPE, and ratings of teamwork? Methodology: A pre-post descriptive quantitative design was used. A total of 110 undergraduate students completed questionnaires at the beginning and end of an interprofessional health professions course. Study subjects included students from the following majors: nursing, dietetics, medical lab science, pre-professional, and other health-related professions. Quantitative data included survey results of three validated instruments used in IPE research: Attitudes Towards Healthcare Teams (ATHCT), Interprofessional Socialization & Valuing Scale (ISVS), and The University of West England Interprofessional Questionnaire (UWE IPQ). Data were analyzed using a two-tailed paired t-test. Findings: Student responses showed significant increases in IPE scores with two of the three instruments. Students participating in the interprofessional course reported significantly increased scores on the ATHCT (M baseline = 3.75; M follow-up = 4.17; p = .000; 5-point Likert-type) and ISVS (M baseline = 3.72; M follow-up = 5.35; p = .000; 7-point Likert-type). Results of the UWE IPQ were mixed. Students reported significantly increased scores on the interprofessional relationships subscale (M baseline = 3.42; M follow-up = 3.92; p = .000; 5-point Likert-type), while scores on the other three UWE IPQ subscales were not significant. Conclusions and implications: IPE of undergraduate students in health-related majors can significantly improve their attitudes toward interprofessional collaboration. While IPE may serve to augment collaboration among future health professions, it cannot substitute for hospital interaction. In the undergraduate setting for future health professionals, IPE should be used in conjunction with hospital experiences.