Assessing Interprofessional Professionalism in Physical Therapy Students
Purpose/Hypothesis: Research has shown that interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) is critical to effective patient care. Because there is not a specific category for IPCP on the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI), health profession programs struggle to accurately assess student competencies in interprofessional communication and practice Therefore, our purpose was to use a modified version of the Interprofessional Professionalism Assessment (IPA) to evaluate DPT student performance by a PT and a non-PT professional with the aims of (1) assessing the utility of the tool in providing feedback on the students and (2) gathering feedback from the individuals completing the tool regarding the assessment process. Number of Subjects: 51 Materials and Methods: PT students completing their final 16-week clinical rotation were assessed twice using a modified version of the Interprofessional Professionalism Assessment (IPA). Items from the IPA that aligned with the PT program’s curricular objectives, including communication, respect, altruism and caring, excellence, ethics, and accountability, were assessed using a five point rating scale (1-strongly disagree to 5-strongly agree). A two-item question asked if the respondent would trust (yes, yes with reservations, no) the student to be on their team and for them to explain the rating as a summative, global assessment of student performance. Two questions asked for feedback about the student’s behaviors and interprofessionalism. Respondents’ perceptions of the IPA tool were also assessed on the five point scale with an opportunity to capture any open-ended feedback. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, and thematic analysis were used to assess the tool. Results: Mean scores for the students were above 4.5 on each of the items, with an overall mean of 4.6. When comparing ratings between physical therapists and non-physical therapist professionals, students were rated significantly higher by non-physical therapist professionals overall (p<.05) and in all but one of the nine items (ranging from: p<.05 to p<.001). Students were rated as being trusted (98%) to join the site’s interprofessional team. Themes from the open-ended responses emphasized the importance of communication, respect, patient advocacy, and teamwork. The tool was rated favorably with all mean scores of 4.5 or greater. Conclusions: Scores suggest that the intent of the tool, the items, and the rating scales were understandable, behaviors were applicable to practice sites, and it was easy to complete. Additionally, the open-ended items supported the qualitative data. Differences may exist in expectations between the PTs and non-PT professionals as there was a significant difference in ratings between groups. The two students assessed as being less than fully trusted had the lowest overall scores of the cohort, so it is encouraging that their ratings align with the overall summative assessment and the feedback from the respondents. Clinical Relevance: The modified IPA tool may be useful in identifying and differentiating student interprofessional skills and provide PT programs with an objective way to assess student IPCP without overburdening clinical sites.