Interprofessional Education and Collaboration from the Students' Points of View

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Pennie Sessler Branden, PhD, CNM, RN
College of Nursing, Sacred Heart University, College of Nursing, Fairfield, CT, Fairfield, CT, USA


Interprofessional Education and Collaboration from the Students’ Points of View.


Healthcare providers can no longer work in silos and neither can health professions’ educators. Health care professionals must work together to provide the best possible care for individuals and communities and reduce redundancy. Opportunities for Interprofessional Education (IPE) have not been utilized to their full potential even when the health professions schools/programs share a building or exist on a university campus.  Those lost opportunities reduce the extensive and worthwhile possibilities for interprofessional awareness, education and collaboration across the health professions.

Interprofessional education is a pedagogical approach for preparing health professions’ students to provide patient care in a collaborative team environment. The premise of IPE is that once health care professionals begin to work together in a collaborative manner, patient care will improve (Buring, Bhushan, Broeseker, Conway, Duncan-Hewitt, Hansen & Westberg, 2009) and collaboration will continue. In an effort to support and encourage Interprofessional Collaboration (IPC) and education, the IPE Committee of the Sacred Heart University (SHU) College of Health Professions (CHP) was established to spearhead and identify opportunities for IPE integration across the curriculum into each professional track. The ENFLA Scholar recognized the opportunity to begin this process by having an IPC activity with students from different CHP departments/schools to come together and learn about IPE leading to IPC.

Over the past year, the IPE Committee at the SHU CHP has been leading an effort to have the faculty better understand the IPE and the opportunities it affords for collaboration in education and care across the health professions. Initially the committee was formed by the Dean of the CHP and the committee members attended the IPEC Faculty development in the spring of 2014. The Expereince Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (ENFLA) Scholar was appointed to this group in September of 2014. At that time the committee was tasked with the job of getting faculty members of the CHP to submit proposals for IPE activities. Since then two workshops for the CHP faculty have been held and a call for proposals has been done. The committee decided to support three projects that were proposed. Since the work of the IPE Committee has addressed activities by and for the faculty, the ENFLA Scholar has decided to have an activity for and IPE group of students from the CHP to build support for IPE from the ground up. IPE research has supported this type of activity.  


Interprofessional Education and Collaboration from the Students’ Points of View.



The purpose of this activity is to begin the discussion of Inter-professional Education (IPE) and Inter-professional Collaboration (IPC) from the students’ vantage point at Sacred Heart University (SHU), College of Health Professions (CHP).


  1. Introduce IPE and IPC to the students of at least three different CHP professions.
  2. Increase mutual understanding of the roles and responsibilities of at least three disciplines in SHU CHP.
  3. Relate IPE competencies to each discipline’s professional standards.
  4. Encourage interprofessional collaboration and dialogue across the CHP majors.



The proposed activity will be a single, 4 hour workshop for CHP student volunteers in the early fall 2015 semester. These students will include those from the School of Nursing, and at least two other departments in the CHP. The other disciplines in the College include Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech-Language Pathology, Athletic Training, Exercise Science, Healthcare Informatics, and Health Sciences. The workshop will address at least two of the IPEC Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. These IPC Practice Competency Domains include:

  1. Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice
  2. Roles/Responsibilities
  3. Interprofessional Communication
  4. Teams and Teamwork


  1. The ENFLA Scholar will form an IPC group of educators from at least three professions within the CHP.
  2. This faculty committee will identify the group of students to include in this activity. The students will be notified and asked to participate with approximately an ultimate number of 8-12 from each professional track. The students will volunteer for this activity/workshop.
  3. This IPC activity/workshop will include:
    1. Evaluation of the student participants for:
      1. their understanding of IPE and IPC before and after the activity
      2. their ideas related to when IPE can be done across the professions at SHU CHP
      3. their level of communication across professions before and after the activity
  4. Introduction of the IPE/IPC topic.
  5. IPC student groups reviewing and discussing their discipline’s professional standards and where they are congruent.
  6. Case study with interprofessional student groups evaluating the opportunities for IPC and patient care.
  7. Students will offer suggestions on how they believe IPE and IPC can be integrated into the CHP professions curricula.
  8. Evaluation of the information gathered during the activity including student pre and post tests and suggestions with cross over from the faculty suggestions.
  9. After the workshop and based on student feedback, the IPC faculty will identify what course(s) and learning opportunities may have the potential for IPE in the SHU CHP.


In order to evaluate this Program’s Outcomes, the Objectives will be measured as stated below:

  1. The student participants will look at the professional standards of each of the disciplines represented and compare and contrast them as an activity of the workshop. These results will be reported by and to the interdisciplinary groups during the workshop. Written sheets from each group will be collected by the ENFLA Scholar and tabulated.
  2. Questionnaires before and after the workshop will be answered by the student participants to evaluate and compare their understanding of what IPE, IPC, and professional roles and responsibilities are for each discipline represented by the student participants.


To be determined after execution of workshop.