The purpose of our interprofessional education (IPE) activity was to link Dental (DS), Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) students together in a mutually beneficial way so that they could learn about, with, and from each other. We chose the topic of ergonomics and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) because they are so highly prevalent among dental professionals, and topics PT and OT students learn early enough in the curriculum to feel confident evaluating and treating their DS peers. In prior years, ergonomics and prevention of MSDs were taught to DS, PT, and OT students separately in each schoolÕs respective curriculum. A gap and missed opportunities existed; more experiential IPE training with interactions between these three professions could enhance the learning of information, assessments involved, and preventive strategies that exist to minimize MSDs risk. Additionally, this presented a unique opportunity for the 3 professions to learn about each other to enhance future collaboration and referral relationships.
During their first year fall semester, DS students received ergonomics presentations and demonstrations from the OT students, and a 1 hour lecture on posture and exercise advice from PT faculty. In the spring semester, the PT students performed an individualized musculoskeletal assessment and treatment for the DS students, and the OT students observed and made recommendations to the senior DS students in their clinical spaces during patient care activities. All students were assessed with a pre and post IPE questionnaire using the Interprofessional Collaborative Competencies Attainment Survey (ICCAS) criteria.
All ICCAS constructs were significantly increased overall, with Team Functioning (p<0.0001), Collaborative Patient/Family Centered-Approach (p<0.0000), and Communication (p<0.0000), being the most significant increases. There was a ceiling effect on self-ratings, given that most students rated themselves as good, very good, or excellent on skills prior to completing the activities. Conclusions/Relevance to Conference Theme: IPE allows students to learn from and about each other and increases awareness of the roles of each profession. Better teamwork and collaboration between professions directly addresses 2 of the ELC conference themes: impacting population health by incorporating concepts of health promotion and prevention into curricula, and enhances team well-being by innovating education to improve the clinical environment. PT programs housed in academic health science centers have a unique opportunity to collaborate with dental faculty and students, as they are predisposed by their work environment to require our services in the future.