Introduction: Working effectively with other healthcare or human service professionals improves quality of care or service delivery and patient-client outcomes. Interprofessional collaboration occurs in a wide range of practice settings. Academic institutions can play a key role by incorporating learning experiences into professional curricula that prepare students to work effectively on interprofessional teams. However, one of the many challenges faced is finding time in the curriculum to include the necessary learning experiences. To address the challenge and meet the identified need, a 6-hour, case-based, interprofessional learning experience was created. The learning module is incorporated into the professional curriculum for graduate students enrolled in clinical psychology, special education, physical therapy, and social work as well as undergraduate senior nursing students. Methods: This learning activity requires a minimum of 6 hours that is distributed across three separate and distinct learning modules. The first two, 1-hour long modules are purposefully discipline-specific and necessary to provide the context and background knowledge for the 4-hour long, capstone interprofessional learning activity, which is a team meeting. The third learning module/team meeting requires collaboration among the students to identify the service needs and plan of care for a student diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The interprofessional team meeting is student led and provides the context for learning from, with, and about the roles that each has as part of the team and the types of clinical decisions that are made by each discipline. Student debriefing and an open discussion conclude the session. Student attitudes toward interprofessional learning and collaboration are assessed prior to and immediately after the learning experience using the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS), the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS), and the Attitudes Toward Healthcare Teams Scale (ATHTS). Results: On the IEPS, significant score improvements were found on the total score, and the examining competency and autonomy, perceptions of actual cooperation, and understanding others’ values. On the RIPLS, significant improvements were found on the examining teamwork and collaboration, professional identity, and roles and responsibilities subscales. Regarding the ATHTS, significant improvements were found on the quality of care/team value, cost of team care/team efficiency, and shared leadership subscales. Discussion: The educational approach used and related learning activities provided here demonstrate that a relatively short learning experience aimed at changing student attitudes toward interprofessional learning and fostering a level of understanding of the skills required to function effectively on interprofessional teams can be effective. The described educational activities provides a model for creating interprofessional learning experiences that involve other practice settings where collaboration is necessary to provide patient-client services that are not necessarily medically based.
By the end of this session, learners will be able to:
- Describe the roles and responsibilities of interprofessional teams in providing patient/client-centered services.
- Communicate discipline-specific knowledge and opinions to team members with confidence and clarity and in a manner that ensures common understanding of the meaning of the information for treatment/care/service delivery decisions.
- Recognize how one’s own discipline contributes to effective communication, conflict resolution, and positive interprofessional working relationships.
- Describe the discipline-specific roles and responsibilities of other members of the health care or human service teams in providing patient/client-centered care or services.
- Recognize one’s own discipline-specific limitations in skills, knowledge, and abilities in providing patient/client services and seek out or identify appropriate complimentary professionals.
- Understand how other health care and human service professional can complement one’s own discipline-specific scope of practice in providing patient/client-centered care or service.
- Identify issues that can lead to conflict within interprofessional teams and demonstrate awareness of the ways that conflict can be productive.
- Understand the importance of managing conflict when disagreements arise within the interprofessional team that are related to differences of opinion and opposing viewpoints in decisions related to service delivery or care.
- Implement leadership practices within the context of a team meeting that supports collaborative decision making and, when necessary, effective conflict resolution.
- Demonstrate the willingness and capacity to re-evaluate discipline-specific knowledge and findings in light of new information acquired from others during an interprofessional team meeting.
- Demonstrate the ability to engage in a collaborative decision making process to establish patient/client centered goals and interventions.
- Integrate the knowledge and viewpoints of other disciplines into care planning decisions.
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Gilin B, Knauss L, Linn M, Wellmon R. A Model for Training Pre-service students in Human Services for Interdisciplinary Practice. Paper presented at: 4th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences; 2009; Athens, Greece.
Wellmon R, Gilin B, Knauss L, Linn M. Student Perceptions of an Interdisciplinary Learning Experience. Paper presented at: American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting; 2010; San Diego, CA.
Wellmon R, Gilin B, Knauss L, Linn M. A Qualitative Exploration of Interprofessional Education: A Report on Student Perceptions and Experiences at Widener University. Presented at: 2010 Interprofessional Care for the 21st Century: Redefining Education and Practice, Thomas Jefferson University; 2010; Philadelphia, PA.
Wellmon R, Gilin B, Knauss L, Linn M. Interprofessional Learning Leads to Changes in Attitudes Toward Collaborative Practice and Improved Skills. Paper presented at: Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association Annual Conference; 2010; Harrisburg, PA.
Wellmon R, Gilin B, Knauss L, Linn M. Interprofessional Education: A Qualitative Exploration of Student Perceptions of Learning How to Work Collaboratively with Others. Paper presented at: 16th International World Confederation of Physical Therapy Conference; 2011; Amsterdam, Holland.
Wellmon R, Gilin B, Knauss L, Linn M. Interprofessional Education Leads to Changes in Attitudes Toward Collaborative Practice and Improved Skills. Paper presented at: 16th International World Confederation of Physical Therapy Conference; 2011; Amsterdam, Holland.
Wellmon R, Gilin B, Knauss L, Linn M. Changes in Student Attitudes Toward Interprofessional Learning and Collaboration Arising from a Case-Based Educational Experience. Paper presented at: 3rd Biennial Interprofessional Educational Conference: Collaborating Across Borders III; 2011; Tucson, AZ.
Wellmon R, Gilin B, Knauss L, Linn M. Adapting Curriculum to Include Opportunities for Interprofessional Learning: The Widener University Approach. Discussion session presented at: 3rd Biennial Interprofessional Educational Conference: Collaborating Across Borders III; 2011; Tucson, AZ.
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