A Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant Learning Activity to Examine Student Collaboration and Collaboration Readiness: An Intraprofessional Educational Process with Interprofessional Implications Salome Brooks PT, EdD, MBA, MA & Renae Gorman PT DPT MTC OCS


Health science programs have recently sought to integrate collaboration skills into their curriculums1. An appreciation of the PT and PTA in the workplace is expected as collaboration2 is defined by supervision, delegation and reporting3. Workforce responsibilities emphasize physical therapy intra-professionalism described by interprofessional tools and terms4,5,6. Effective collaboration will impact the patient centered interdisciplinary team7. The purpose of this study is to examine the collaboration skills introduced and developed in the classroom, readiness to collaborate and the ability to learn intraprofessional skills 8,9.


This mixed methods study10 included 18 PTA and 46 DPT students randomly assigned to groups to complete a professionalism research project after a combined lecture (interprofessional learning model11,12) introducing professionalism13,14 and interprofessional practice theories15,16. The Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS)17 and the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS)18 were completed pre/post the experience. Data was collected regarding student supervisory work experiences, field notes discussing the planning meeting process and the student self/peer performance evaluations.


Results found that the RIPLS subscales “Roles and Responsibilities” and “Teamwork and Collaboration” had standardized canonical discriminant function coefficients above the cutoff score both pre and post intervention. Scores increased pre to post for “Teamwork and Collaboration” (p = .004), but not for Professional Identity (p = .785) or Roles and Responsibilities (p = .269). Significant correlations existed between means of IEPS subscales “Competence and Autonomy”, “Perceived Need For Cooperation”, and “Perception of Actual Cooperation”. Intercorrelations between dependent variables ranged from .464 to .814, which may have indicated multicollinearity between the subscales Competence and Autonomy and Perception of Actual Cooperation (r = .814).

Peer evaluations indicated consistency in group participation; 5/5 mean score for 75% of students. Field notes indicated tasks were allocated without distinction by program or degree level. The major theme was completion of the project at graduate level standards. The supervisory work experience showed that 54% of PTA and 60% of PT students had 1-2 previous supervisory job experiences primarily in hospitality.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Shaping the Future of Physical Therapy Education

RIPLS scores were able to identify students as PT or PTA with higher and lower scores respectively. “Teamwork and Collaboration” scores increased from pre to post activity indicating that an effective learning activity in the academic setting can develop collaboration skills. Previous work experiences, the meeting process and self /peer evaluations data describe the collaborative skills acquired by the students. It can be concluded that intraprofessional collaboration skills can be initiated in an academic setting prior to clinical placement.


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  • Control #: 2260753
  • Type: Posters
  • Event/Year: ELC2015
  • Authors: Dr. Salome Brooks, Renae Gorman
  • Keywords:

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