The Importance of Interprofessional Collaboration

Hey everyone! It’s hard to believe October is coming to a close – until you step outside, that is! The cold weather has come upon us quite suddenly. Thankfully, that didn’t deter CoRP members from meeting to have a conversation about something essential to providing the best possible services for our patients: interprofessional collaboration.

Last Spring, Marshall University’s College of Health Professions (students from Communication Disorders, Nursing and Physical Therapy) teamed up with the School of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine to host mock case studies in an attempt to examine the interprofessional collaborative skills of graduate students. 320 students were involved in the study. These students were able to talk via Blackboard and met for three seminars. These seminars were designed to be safe and fun while maintaining realism. During the seminars, the students were divided into groups and examined two case studies – one adult, one pediatric. 

Data was collected during these seminars in several different ways. The students were all required to take pre and post tests related to the scope of practice for their future career, as well as the scope of practice for every other professional involved in the study. A self-assessment of each student’s attitudes towards interprofessional collaboration was also included. Upon completion, the students submitted course evaluations. This data is currently being analyzed.

From here, plans are being made to recreate the study in the spring of 2014. The content and assessment measures will be modified. As requested by participants of the first study, students majoring in social work and dietetics will be incorporated into the future study. A stronger focus on dissemination will also be included in future studies. The researchers hope to submit posters and present findings at conferences across America.

As a future Speech-Language Pathologist, I am beginning to understand how essential interprofessional collaboration is in ensuring the best possible service for our clients and patients. Currently, this is not emphasized as strongly as it should be across many curriculum. With this study, the researchers are not only gathering data; they are also educating a large number of students in the collaborative process, the roles of many different professionals and the importance in teamwork when it comes to treating a patient or client.

That’s all for now! As always, thanks for reading. Try to stay warm out there!