11 December 2020
Background: The geriatric population in the United States is in need of palliative care (PC), yet it is not consistently established in the curriculum across health care training programs. There is a clarion call to reform the education of health care students using interprofessional education (IPE). The Joint Commission reported that communication errors represent two-thirds of the causes behind provider sentinel events in health care.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to design, implement, and assess an IPE curriculum on PC to understand interprofessional student attitudes.
Design/Setting: Three professors conducted a mixed-methods study at a California university involving an IPE PC event for 40 nursing and speech-language pathology students, and administered the Interprofessional Attitudes Survey (IPAS) and reflective questions.
Results: Qualitative findings indicated that students increased their knowledge about PC and the purpose/value of IPE. Four out of the five IPAS subscales had positive outcomes: teamwork and roles/responsibilities, patient-centeredness, diversity/ethics, and community-centeredness. Interprofessional-biases subscale revealed that 33% of the participants reported biases toward students from other health care disciplines, and 35% reported that students from other health care disciplines held similar biases toward them. However, only 25% did not believe that the interdisciplinary biases interfered with patient outcomes.
Conclusion: The study identified the existence of interprofessional biases and prejudices that may impede collaboration among health care professionals resulting in reduced health care outcomes. Faculty and health educators are encouraged to embed IPE into a multidisciplinary curriculum that dismantles preexisting interdisciplinary biases and stereotypes, and constructs dual-professional identity. IRB ID #904203-1