Interprofessional Collaboration with PTA and RAD Tech Students during Immersive Short-Term Educational Abroad Opportunity
PTA Education Purpose: Clinical education for students of allied health professions is typically a requirement through their respective educational accrediting bodies. Part of clinical education is learning the importance of other clinicians that participate in patient care. The interprofessional component may vary depending on the facility the students are placed for their clinical affiliations. With increased need for continuum of patient care, the importance of interprofessional experiences in clinical education has also increased (Brown & Brehm, 2016). It has also been found the students that participate in a short term educational abroad opportunity may benefit similarly to those that attend longer educational abroad opportunities, with varied limitations due to the length of immersion in the culture (Rodriguez, Parks, & Parrish, 2018) (Dressel & Mkandawire-Valhmu, 2017). The world is also becoming more diverse and interconnected; therefore, the challenge this poses is being met with an increase in American students seeking a study abroad opportunity (Maharaja, 2018). Finally, being able to communicate with other professionals and show mutual respect is reinforced with more interprofessional opportunities (King & Beanlands, 2016). Methods/Description: Students were selected for the educational abroad trip by performing a video audition that was then scored by several faculty members at the college. The scoring was a rubric created by the author with three categories. The twelve selected students were from the Radiologic Technology (RAD Tech) and Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) programs at Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. The students went through a college mandated orientation that was monitored through the LMS Desire2Learn (D2L). Trident Technical College has an educational clinical contract with Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City, Belize. As a part of their clinical education, the selected students participated in a 4 day immersive educational experience with KHMH in Belize. Both groups of students participated in care in their areas of study; additionally, the PTA students observed the procedures of the clinicians in the radiology department and the RAD Tech students observed in procedures in the physical therapy department. They also participated in an educational excursion to the Mayan Ruins to learn more about the Belize culture and history. The students completed the Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Survey (ICCAS) pre-trip and post-trip. The ICCAS has been shown to determine self-assessed interprofessional collaborative behaviors (Schmitz & Radosevich, 2017). Results/Outcomes: The data collected through the ICCAS indicates a statistically significant change from the pre-survey answers and the post-survey answers. This supports the value of participation in this 4 day experience, as the students gained interprofessional understanding and insight. The students also shared their positive experiences through journaling. While the experience was viewed as overall positive, some students noted that it was “eye-opening” to see the disparities that exist between the allied health professionals in Belize and the U.S. Students also mentioned that cultural differences in Belize put a different view on the quality of life expected for patients than those seen in the U.S. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Being able to take associate degree program students on an education abroad opportunity is unique in nature. Since the students are enrolled in the program for less time than their graduate counterparts, it is most likely less of a focal point due to the amount of material that needs to be covered in this shorter time frame. Even graduate programs have limited educational abroad opportunities for their students. This opportunity was enriching to the students who were able to participate and most likely will impact how they practice in their jobs. It is also fortuitous that the theme is “traveling” related since the main idea of this poster presentation is education abroad. The topic of developing a diverse and culturally competent physical therapy workforce applies to this particular experience since the students were immersed in a different culture and they were able to experience each other’s fields of study while in a different country.