The Effects of Baccalaureate Nursing Students' Participation in a Community-Wide Disaster Drill on Perception of Interprofessional Education in a Small, Rural College Setting

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Laura R. Madden, MSN, RN, CCRN
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA, USA

With both the Institute of Medicine (2001) and the World Health Organization (2010) advocating for interprofessional education (IPE) as a means to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of patient-centered care, colleges and universities are tasked with finding appropriate ways to provide this education to their health care professional students.  According to Reeves, Perrier, Goldman, Freeth, & Zwarenstein (2013), this is best accomplished through interactive education.  In small colleges located in rural settings where nursing students may not have the opportunity to collaborate with other pre-licensure health care students, the ability to provide comprehensive IPE is difficult without using creativity and innovation.  The purpose of this proposed study is to examine the effects of baccalaureate nursing student participation in a community-wide disaster drill on their perceptions of interprofessional education.  This proposed study will utilize the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Survey (IEPS) to study the perceptions of baccalaureate nursing students from one small, rural college in the southeastern United States before and after their participation in a community-wide disaster drill.  This instrument was developed in 1990 by Luecht, Madsen, Tauger, and Petterson, using 143 participants to elicit pre-professional healthcare student perception of interdisciplinary collaboration.  The 18 items in the scale are rated on a 6-point Likert scale (1= strongly disagree and 6= strongly agree), with higher scores indicating greater professional cooperation (Williams & Webb, 2013).  This instrument has been widely used since its development and carries a Cronbach alpha coefficient of .87 (Williams & Webb, 2013).  Participants for this study will be recruited from the nursing program of one small, rural college where nursing is the only pre-licensure health care program.  All of the nursing students from will be recruited to complete the IEPS survey instrument after class approximately one month before their participation in the disaster drill, and again during the debriefing session at the conclusion of the drill.  Prior to their participation in the disaster drill, the students will be provided with didactic teaching on interdisciplinary collaboration using critical thinking. During the drill, the third year nursing students will participate as the victims, while the fourth year nursing students will collaborate with local fire, rescue, police, and hospital professionals to care for the victims.  The participants will also be asked to complete a researcher-created demographic survey which will measure age, ethnicity, years of formal education, marital status, current employment status, number of years of work experience in the health care industry, and classification of city size where the participant anticipates they will work upon graduation from the nursing program.  The participants will complete the survey during the spring semester of 2015.  All data collected will be statistically analyzed, reported to the college, and prepared for presentation.  The results of this study have the potential to provide evidence for use of an experiential learning activity to increase critical thinking and collaboration with other health care professionals.

            Providing the theoretical framework for this proposed study will be Dewey’s theory of knowledge development.  Dewey used the pragmatic approach to knowledge development where truth is conditional on its practical applicability for accomplishment (Hookway, 2013).  Pragmatism requires receptiveness to new ways of thinking and new resolutions to problem solving (Warms & Schroeder, 1999), which Dewey provided through his ideas of blending inquiry with experimentalism.  Dewey posed his theory of knowledge development based on a human’s ability to adjust their environment in order to provide a solution for a situation (Field, n.d.; Hookway, 2013).  Dewey further believed knowledge and reason developed during interaction with the environment, using knowledge as an instrument to bring about change and adaptation (Field, n.d.).  Additionally, as the environment was altered by interaction, a change in behavior was also manifested in the individual (Leffew, n.d.; Papdimos, 2009).  During the interventional phase of this proposed study, the participants will draw on the concepts of observation, use of past knowledge, and critical thinking described by Dewey in his model (Kolb, 1984).  These concepts will form the context for measurement of the four subscales of competency, perceived need for cooperation, perception of actual cooperation, and understanding the value of others found in the IEPS (Williams & Webb, 2013).