UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

From classroom to workplace : how effective is interprofessional education? Nickerson, Jason


The College of Health Disciplines at the University of British Columbia has recognized the value of interprofessional collaboration and has implemented a number of courses that utilize an interprofessional education approach to learning. These courses provide learners from a variety of professional backgrounds with opportunities to learn together, collaboratively, about topics of mutual relevance. The course investigated through this study focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and care and involved students from pharmacy, nutrition, medicine, nursing and social work. The goal of this study was to understand the effectiveness of interprofessional education by exploring the experiences of students as they transitioned from the classroom to the workplace. Utilizing semi-structured interviews with five former students who had taken the interprofessional education course on HIV/AIDS, this study specifically investigated: (1) what learning was memorable or significant during the interprofessional course; (2) what pieces of knowledge related to interprofessional care were learners able to transfer to their current professional practice; and (3) what enabled or posed a barrier to the transfer of interprofessional knowledge in their current professional practice. The interviews provided positive feedback regarding the course and the learning objectives related to interprofessional education. The course itself was well received and participants viewed interprofessional care as a positive intervention in patient care. Despite this, participants reported significant challenges in transferring interprofessional knowledge and skills to the practice setting. This was largely mediated by existing organizational and professional cultures, which participants felt were imposed by the institution and/or their colleagues. The interprofessional education course structure appears to have offered learners a broad range of effective teaching and learning strategies that provided them with insight into other professions. In addition, the benefits of interprofessional care remained with learners as they entered into professional practice. One shortfall of the program was, however, a lack of insight into how interprofessional care can be implemented by learners in their future places of practice. In the absence of this, learners were unable to serve as the agents of change to transform institutional cultures in favour of an interprofessional, collaborative setting.

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