Health professionals’ understanding of interprofessional education and collaborative practice: A Queensland survey

Dr Priya Martin1, Dr Alison Pighills2, Ms Lynne Sinclair3

1Cunningham Centre, Darling Downs Health, Toowoomba, Australia, 2Mackay Instutute of Research and Innovation, Mackay Hospital and Health Service, Mackay, Australia, 3Centre for Interprofessional Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Background: There is an increasing awareness of the importance of interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP) in improving health outcomes for patients and organisations. Whilst university education for health professional students is focusing more on IPECP, recent literature has highlighted gaps in interprofessional practice learning experiences, understanding and skills in healthcare settings. This survey study aimed to investigate health professionals’ understanding of IPECP, as well as measure their readiness to facilitate interprofessional education (IPE) in clinical settings.

Method: All allied health professionals, nurses and doctors in two regional health services in Queensland were invited to complete an online, anonymous Survey MonkeyTM survey. The survey is currently open and consists of 24 questions.

Results: 94 respondents have so far completed the survey representing seven allied health professions, medicine and nursing. Preliminary analysis of available data indicates the following: 49% of respondents have been in the current role for more than 10 years; over 70% are in a clinical role; 80% of the respondents are not aware of different IPE terminologies; just over 40% can explain what IPE is to a colleague; 74% agree that IPECP leads to improved patient outcomes; only 36% understand the difference between multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams; 39% of respondents are confident in facilitating IPE of students from their own profession and only 23% are confident to facilitate IPE for other professions; only 7% are aware of IPE frameworks; 22% are aware of IPE resources and just over 10% have completed IPE training. The final survey results will be available and presented at the conference.

Discussion: This study has revealed the areas for improvement to enhance IPECP in two Queensland regional health services. This information will be used in developing targeted interventions including state-wide training. Study findings will be of interest to similar healthcare settings internationally.

Acknowledgement – Toowoomba Hospital Foundation Research Grant


Alison completed her PhD in 2008 at the University of York, UK, which involved a RCT (n=238), to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of environmental assessment and modification to prevent falls in older people. She was awarded the University of York K M Stott prize for the best PhD thesis. She is currently a co-investigator on a multi-centre RCT in the UK (n=1333) which replicates her PhD research on a larger scale. Her research interests include: falls prevention, rural and remote models of care, professional skill sharing and delegation; and, research capacity development.

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