Breaking down professional barriers: Medicine and pharmacy students learning together

Publisher:
Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
FOCUS ON HEALTH PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION: A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY JOURNAL, 2010, 12 (1), pp. 1 - 10
Issue Date:
2010-01
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Background: This paper reports findings of a pilot interprofessional problem based learning (PBL) study in the faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Sydney, New South Wales. The aim of the research was to investigate whether small group interprofessional learning activities with medical and pharmacy students can lead to: changes in attitude toward each other and toward interprofessional education (IPE); added value when learning together; and better understanding of each other's professional roles. Methods: Nineteen medical and 20 pharmacy students participated in two, 2-hour PBL tutorials focussed on conducting a Home Medicines Review. The Attitudes to Health Professionals Questionnaire (AHPQ) was used to measure attitude change pre- and postinterprofessional PBL. Paired t-tests were used to analyse pre- and post-IPE data. Focus groups were conducted with the students after the PBL sessions. These were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed. Results: Students reported added value from the IPE experience. Pharmacy students reported a small but significant change in attitude toward the medical students on the AHPQ caring scale, rating them as more caring post-IPE (p=0.001). Although medical students rated the pharmacy students more caring after the intervention, this was not statistically significant (p=0.08). Medical students valued the pharmacy students' input and knowledge. Conclusion: There was evidence of a positive change in students' attitudes to the other profession after only two sessions. Aspects of IPE design such as explicit interprofessional learning outcomes, the use of PBL processes, and relevant learning activities were important to the success of this pilot study
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