Subjects: Five physical therapy students in the second year of a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at a Midwestern university who were preparing to complete their first full-time 8-week clinical education rotation and five undergraduate nursing students in the final year of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at the same university who were engaged in routine clinical education in the acute care hospital.
Methods: A mixed methods design was utilized and participants were randomly paired to complete the simulation. Participants completed the Readiness for Interprofessional Education Survey (RIPLS) prior to and within two weeks of completing the simulation to measure their perceptions of Interprofessional education. Quantitative data was analyzed with the Wilcoxon signed-rank test to assess within-group differences in RIPLS scores pre- and post-simulation and with the Mann-Whitney U test to assess differences in RIPLS scores between physical therapy and nursing students. Qualitative data was examined using a phenomenological approach to systematically reduce the data into themes.
Results: Quantitative analysis revealed a significant difference (p=0.013) in the participants’ total RIPLS score pre- and post-simulation. Significant differences pre- and post-simulation were also found in three of the four RIPLS sub-scales (teamwork and cooperation, negative professional identity, and positive professional identity) with no changes found in roles and responsibilities. No significant difference in pre- or post-simulation RIPLS scores was found between physical therapy and nursing students. Three themes that represented the participants’ experiences with the interprofessional simulation emerged from the qualitative analysis: collaborative learning, understanding roles, and self-efficacy.
Conclusions: Physical therapy and undergraduate nursing students’ readiness to participate in interprofessional learning was enhanced by participating in a learning experience involving an acute care simulation. Quantitative and qualitative data revealed that participants realized the value of teamwork and collaboration, better understood each other’s professional roles, and felt better prepared for clinical practice in an acute care setting after the simulation.
Clinical Relevance: An interprofessional simulation-based acute care learning experience can help prepare physical therapy and undergraduate nursing students for interprofessional collaborative practice in the acute care setting.
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