Does a short-term interprofessional clinical placement early in a graduate-entry medical course affect students' readiness for interprofessional learning?
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This conference brought together the Wonca World Rural Health Conference and The Network: Towards Unity for Health annual conference, as well as the next NOSM/Flinders Conference on Community Engaged Medical Education, the Consortium for Longitudinal Integrated Curricula, and the Training for Health Equity Network
Introduction: An inter-professional educational initiative involving two cohorts of first year graduate-entry medical students was introduced at the University of Wollongong. This 3-week interdisciplinary clinical experience (ICE) where students worked with a range of health professionals, aimed to help students gain perspectives on professional roles, teamwork and inter-professional communication, and the impact of these on quality and safety in health care. Complexity theory provided the conceptual framework for the placement, with the National Patient Safety Education Framework guiding its implementation and evaluation.
Methods: Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to evaluate the outcomes from student and preceptor perspectives, including a pre-and post-ICE administration of a 4 sub-scale version of the Readiness for Inter-professional Learning Scale (RIPLS)3 to students.
Results: Most students and preceptors agreed that ICE met its learning outcomes, with reflective comments providing some insight in to the nature of the learning experience. Significant RIPLS findings included the tendency of medical students, post ICE, to agree less strongly with statements relating to ‘Teamwork and Collaboration’ and ‘Positive Professional Identity’, and disagree less strongly with those relating to ‘Negative Professional Identity’.
Conclusions: Less positive student responses to questions about ‘teamwork and collaboration’ and ‘professional identity’ following the placement may be due to the experience itself or because it reinforced negative beliefs about the value of learning from other health professionals who are not doctors. Alternatively, students may have had an underdeveloped professional identity themselves. Further study is underway to provide some insight into the findings.
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