Addressing today’s health issues requires collaboration across professionals and disciplines. Students preparing for careers in healthcare should participate in interprofessional education (IPE) opportunities to better prepare themselves for interdisciplinary teamwork and interprofessional collaboration in their future careers. To better understand the undergraduate experience of these opportunities and interprofessional collaborative practice in the workplace, first-person narratives were obtained through phenomenological qualitative inquiry. Graduates from a variety of undergraduate healthcare programs shared perspectives through a series of interviews, and cross-analysis resulted in the creation of three overall themes aligned with the interprofessional learning continuum model and IPE core competencies. These were collapsed into larger themes around professional identity, professional relationships, and patient-centered care. Participants indicated a perceived value in IPE, highlighting the necessity of the patient-focused healthcare team in providing a quality patient experience with better outcomes. These themes can be used to guide education efforts, emphasizing support for developing professional identity and helping students make a meaningful connection to their coursework and future profession. These findings support recommendations for interprofessional experiential learning opportunities, integration of IPE throughout the curriculum and at the undergraduate level, and extending interprofessional practice opportunities into the workplace. Integrating group work, case-based scenarios, and simulation with patient and community involvement can help students and professionals practice collaboration and patient-centered care.
Professor, School of Public and Population Health, Boise State University, Idaho, United States
Phenomenology, Interprofessional education, Interprofessional collaborative practice, Undergraduate