Be prepared to sit at the table: a campus wide interprofessional program
Hart, Marisa Ann
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Interprofessional education (IPE), an educational concept that occurs when health care professionals from various disciplines learn about, from and with each other could ultimately enrich patient care, through use of collaborative strategy and synergistic learning between health care professions (Darlow et al., 2016). Evidence supports provision of IPE programming for occupational therapy and other healthcare student disciplines, in order to attain the diverse skill set required to effectively and efficiently communicate within an interdisciplinary healthcare team, and ultimately, to improve quality of patient care. The use of IPE in professional level healthcare education has been shown to improve students’ collaborative knowledge, skills and behavior, leading to effective task delegation (Riskiyana et al., 2018), ethical problem solving skills, and understanding of the professional roles and responsibilities required to promote efficiency in effective communication and teamwork skills (Gee et al., 2016). Despite literature supporting the justification for implementation of evidence-based IPE programs across institutions nationally, professional healthcare programs lack consistency and follow through. Diversity within IPE programming (Zahl et al., 2016) will allow for flexibility in planning and implementation of student experiences, which promote high-quality patient health care and strengthened collaborative workplace practices (O’Hara et al., 2018). With this heightened flexibility, interprofessional learning can transpire in larger student numbers, comprised of diverse healthcare disciplines, through platforms including online learning (O’Hara et al., 2018), clinical workplace supervision (Lawlis et al., 2016), and community based service learning experiences (Zahl et al., 2016). In order to investigate which interprofessional exercises and learning tools are perceived to be most effective an evidence-based, three-phase model curriculum, has been designed to be implemented across occupational therapy and other healthcare programs, in order to promote preparedness of professional level healthcare students as interdisciplinary team members. An entire cohort of master occupational therapy students will be recruited to participate in this three-phase IPE program, which will be embedded within the curriculum. Research will utilize a quasi-experimental design, using pre and post survey testing to measure the dependent variables of interest. Results will indicate students’ perception on which IPE tools/activities were most effective in preparing them for participation as an interdisciplinary team member, as well as produce evidence to support use of effective IPE tools/activities, to adequately prepare occupational therapy students for an interdisciplinary team based approach to practice. This educational program addresses a gap in knowledge and experience of interdisciplinary healthcare educators. Further collaboration and research from interdisciplinary healthcare educators is needed to attain data to support best practice in program development, as IPE falls within both the professional and ethical responsibility of occupational therapy and healthcare educators (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2015).
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