Traditionally the emphasis on interprofessional collaboration has been in the practice setting and not during the education of health care professionals. In order for healthcare disciplines to effectively collaborate at the patient’s bedside, it is important for healthcare education to allow students to participate in interprofessional learning as part of their educational process. The purpose of this study was to determine whether participation in an interprofessional simulation on death notification influences undergraduate nursing and social work students’ perception of readiness for interprofessional learning.
For the past two years, senior Nursing and Social Work students have participated in a death notification simulation. Through this interactive simulation, the students are able to enact and discuss their professional roles and differentiate how they may overlap or vary, thereby potentially increasing understanding, mutual trust, and respect for other professions. The students participated in the simulation either in the role of the Nurse, Social Worker, or observer. All the students participated in the simulation debriefing together.
In this research study, The Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale, a 19 item Likert type scale, was used to assess readiness for interprofessional learning in Nursing and Social Work students before and after a pre-established death notification simulation. A descriptive-comparative design was used with senior Nursing and Social Work students to collect data over a one year period. All students that participated in the simulation each semester (Approximately 100) were asked to participate in this study. Data was collected using The Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale one week before and immediately following the death notification simulation.
A total of 232 students completed the surveys (110 before the simulation and 122 after). T-tests showed a significance difference in scores on the total RIPLS (t= -3.32, p=.001), the teamwork and collaboration subscale (t=-2.88, p=.004), and the professional identity subscale (t=-3.20, p=.002) indicating an increase in the readiness for interprofessional learning after the simulation.
The participation of Nursing and Social Work students in an interprofessional simulation resulted in an increased readiness for interprofessional learning. The use of interprofessional simulations may be a strategy that can be used in a variety of settings to increase interprofessional teamwork and collaboration.
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