Sent Messages: Student Results of an Interprofessional Communication Intervention

Monday, July 11, 2011: 4:25 PM

Hollis D. Day, MD
School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

OBJECTIVES: Increase student knowledge and attitude toward acknowledging their role and the role of other professional providers when engaging in crucial conversations.

METHODS: The program was delivered to 139 nursing students and 108 pharmacy students.  Students received a one-hour lecture outlining the importance of interprofessional communication in practice with a focus on the seven crucial clinical concerns:  broken rules, mistakes, lack of support, incompetence, poor teamwork, disrespect, and micromanagement (Maxfield et al., 2005).  Students were trained in a standardized communication technique: Identification-Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation-Readback (I-SBAR-R).  For the program’s experiential aspect, half of the students learned and practiced interprofessional communication skills using role play scenarios depicting colleague-to-colleague communication challenges with the “standardized colleague,” while the other students viewed videotaped interprofessional communication scenarios.  Faculty provided feedback on demonstrated behaviors impacting communication effectiveness.  Follow-up evaluations of students’ perceived abilities to communicate effectively were administered at pre-, immediately post, and 3-and 6-month intervals.  Students were surveyed regarding their perceptions of and satisfaction with the standardized colleague strategy. 

RESULTS:  Results of the repeated measures ANOVA indicated that students experienced an increase in comfort and confidence over each time point. An independent samples t-test revealed no difference in helpfulness, confidence and comfort between the video and standardized colleagues’ instructional methods. Qualitative student feedback on the experience will also be shared.

IMPLICATIONS:  Offering students the opportunity to identify appropriate responses to difficult interprofessional situations increases the quality of care and health care delivery.  Based on the increases in student comfort and confidence, the strategy may be expanded to test how more than two professions may be engaged in a scenario to simulate a team interaction (e.g., two “standardized” colleagues and one student, two students from different health professions and one “standardized” colleague).  Use of distance or mobile technology communication should also be considered to expand the educational opportunity.