Parallel to the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) competencies, many professions have infused interprofessional education (IPE) competencies in their respective accreditation standards. While such infusion is commendable to build a workforce ready to work in teams to improve health outcomes, it also unfolds some barriers to achieving competency in interprofessional education in an often siloed higher education landscape. To address some of the barriers in developing and offering courses within regularly scheduled classes in the “brick and mortar” classroom, completely online or hybrid models have emerged as a potential solution to address varying schedules and course expectations across programs.
In Fall 2018, faculty from the School of Social Work, the School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program and the School of Nursing formed an IPE work group that conceptualized, implemented and evaluated a novel way to infuse IPE as a module in each of the three courses that the faculty taught. This project aimed to evaluate the impact of such interprofessional education on mastery of IPEC competencies. The Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Scale (ICCAS) (Revised) was administered to measure mastery of IPE competences.
Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was sought from the host institution. Data collection occurred during the last two weeks of the semester. From a total of 70, 53 students consented to participate in the study. Some basic information on professional background was gathered and the Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment (ICASS) scale, a self-assessment instrument was used to measure mastery of competencies.
Of the 53 students that participated in the IPE competency evaluation research, approximately 43% of students that participated were enrolled in the physician assistant program, 28% were from social work, and 28% were in the nursing program. About 72% of professionals had worked in a paid healthcare setting, with 27% of professionals stating they currently worked in such a setting. Approximately 36% of professionals participated in routine clinical meetings with other professionals or huddles.
The 20 items in ICCAS measured competencies before instituting IPE hybrid education and after IPE hybrid education. All competencies exhibited increases from before IPE hybrid education was implemented to after IPE hybrid education was implemented. The difference in means between pre- and post- scores ranged from an increase of 0.47 to an increase of 1.08. The competency with the greatest improvement was if the experience demonstrated development of an effective care plan with interprofessional team members. A paired samples t-test comparing pre- and post-test means, all competencies showed a statistically significant improvement from before IPE hybrid education was implemented to after IPE hybrid education was implemented
Conclusions and Implications:
Results indicate that IPE prepares healthcare professionals to engage in collaborative practice to ensure clients/patients have better health outcomes. Future work entails engaging in qualitative study on the richness of relationships developed and impact of collaborative practice on health outcomes. The paper will address implications for collaborative practice and the need to infuse IPE in social work curriculum.