Interprofessional education (IPE) has been identified as a strategy to overcome some challenges healthcare is facing throughout the world. Different professionals with a variety of skills are required for comprehensive and cost-effective healthcare.
An IPE programme was developed for and implemented with the undergraduate final-year occupational therapy students, speech therapy students and physiotherapy students in a care centre in a community. The purpose of the IPE programme was to teach these healthcare students how to function effectively within an interprofessional team.
The main aim of the study was to determine the influence of the exposure to the IPE programme on the development of the final-year healthcare students as interprofessional team members. The aim was reached as the study indicated that the students exposure to the IPE programme improved their ability to function as interprofessional team members. The aim of the study is more clearly described through the objectives of the study. The objectives were answered by generating qualitative data and collecting quantitative data. A multi-method research design was therefore used.
Qualitative data of the final-year healthcare students expectations before the implementation of the IPE programme and the students experiences after the implementation of the IPE programme were generated by means of reflective essays. A clinical supervisor was also invited to complete a reflective essay about her experiences of the students interprofessional teamwork. The essays were thematically analysed and themes emerged from the data. The findings of the study indicated three main themes. The first theme was the outcomes of IPE as experienced by the students. The second theme identified an optimal environment for the facilitation of teamwork and the third theme identified certain attributes that team members need for effective teamwork. The second and third theme were identified as the elements that led to the outcomes described in theme one. The clinical supervisor s reflective essay was used to support the themes that emerged and not used as primary data. Quantitative data of the healthcare students experiences of the quality of teamwork were collected before and after the implementation of the IPE programme with the use of a summarised Teamwork Quality (TWQ) Scale. The scale is used to measure the quality of teamwork and consists of ten categories, namely communication, co-ordination, contribution, mutual support, effort, cohesion, effectiveness, efficiency, work satisfaction and learning. The two sets of quantitative data collected were compared by using the related-samples Wilcoxan signed rank test of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows, Version 23.0 Chicago: SPSS Inc. The results indicated an improvement in all ten categories with significant improvement in eight of the categories namely co-ordination, contribution, mutual support, effort, cohesion, effectiveness, efficiency and work satisfaction.
The researcher kept a reflective journal during the entire research process to clearly state her position in the process as she developed and implemented the IPE programme.
The study indicated that the students experienced the IPE programme as a means to improve their ability to function as interprofessional team members. The limitations of the study are mentioned in the last chapter. The researcher also made recommendations for IPE developers as well as similar future IPE research
Dissertation (MOccTher)--University of Pretoria, 2016.