A Qualitative Analysis of an Interprofessional Education Workshop: A Rehabilitation Collaboration
Background and Purpose: Today's challenges in health care require skilled interprofessional collaboration, and practitioners must be prepared to contribute to interprofessional care teams. Health outcomes improve when professionals can effectively work together to provide care. Three specific allied health professions commonly work together within the healthcare environment: occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and speech-language pathology (SLP). To prepare students fully for entrance into the realm of clinical practice, education must be centered on providing opportunities to foster understanding, knowledge, and collaboration with other healthcare professions. Faculty from three universities that house the three different disciplines, Bellarmine University (PT students), Spalding University (OT students), and the University of Louisville (SLP students), identified and capitalized on an opportunity for enhancing current IPE offerings by creating a IPE workshop for students. The goal of this workshop is to prepare collaboration-ready clinicians and to contribute to the growing body of IPE evidence and knowledge. The purpose of this case report was to examine the benefits and/or disadvantages of an interprofessional workshop for OT, PT, and SLP students. Case Description: Qualitative case study methodology was used to examine a one-day IPE workshop that included students in their final year of didactic or clinical coursework. Data collection included open-ended reflection questions after the workshop that was coded and thematically analyzed. Faculty from each university were assigned to students to facilitate discussion and observe communication throughout. Activities within the workshop include areas that focus on team building, communication, understanding other rehabilitation professionals and case studies. Outcomes: Major themes from students across all three disciplines. Students identified the workshop as assisting with: 1. Dispelling stereotypes, 2. Improving their understanding of other disciplines and 3. Improved confidence with communication with other members of the healthcare team. Discussion: This study demonstrates the benefit of interdisciplinary education through student responses and perspective. Students find the opportunity to interact with other allied health professional students beneficial for preparation to enter the healthcare community. The use of case studies with the format of interdisciplinary rounds provided students with an opportunity to practice communication in a structured and safe environment. Overall, students feel more empowered in communication and collaboration after participating in the workshop. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of collaboration in the educational setting as it pertains to interprofessional communication and collaboration. This workshop provides a framework for other universities that house different rehabilitation professionals to find ways to provide IPE. Students, while taught about interdisciplinary collaboration in their respective programs, feel more confident and prepared for clinical placement when being able to work with other allied health professionals in a structured, educational setting. Finally, it provided an opportunity to network, meet those outside of their chosen profession, understand their biases and practice communication in a structured and safe environment, to not only feel confident, but also to feel more well-rounded as a practicing clinical.