Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Professional Stereotypes of Interprofessional Education Naive Pharmacy and Nursing Students

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Professional Stereotypes of Interprofessional Education Naive Pharmacy and Nursing Students

Article excerpt

Objective. To assess and compare interprofessional education (IPE) naive pharmacy and nursing student stereotypes prior to completion of an IPE activity.

Methods. Three hundred and twenty-three pharmacy students and 275 nursing students at Mercer University completed the Student Stereotypes Rating Questionnaire. Responses from pharmacy and nursing students were compared, and responses from different level learners within the same profession also were compared.

Results. Three hundred and fifty-six (59.5%) students completed the survey. Pharmacy students viewed pharmacists more favorably than nursing students viewed pharmacists for all attributes except the ability to work independently. Additionally, nursing students viewed nurses less favorably than pharmacy students viewed nurses for academic ability and practical skills. There was some variability in stereotypes between professional years.

Conclusion. This study confirms the existence of professional stereotypes, although overall student perceptions of their own profession and the other were generally positive.

Keywords: Interprofessional education, professional stereotypes, pharmacy students, nursing students


As the delivery of health care becomes more interconnected among disciplines, coordinating care between health care professionals is becoming increasingly important. Teaching health profession students how to practice successfully as a member of a multidisciplinary team has quickly become a priority of many educational institutions. Interprofessional education (IPE) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "when two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes." (1) According to WHO, by implementing interprofessional collaboration and learning to work together and respect one another's perspectives on health care, multiple disciplines can work more effectively as a team to improve patient outcomes. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also endorses IPE as a means to improve health care quality. (2) Furthermore, IPE is required by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), which increased emphasis on IPE in the Standards 2016. (3) "Interprofessional communication and collaboration for improving patient health outcomes" is the sixth "essential" element for accreditation of bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs. (4) Both accreditation bodies also support the core competency domains for interprofessional practice, which are detailed by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC). They include values/ethics for interprofessional practice, roles/responsibilities, interprofessional communication, and teams and teamwork. (5) Perceived roles and responsibilities of health care professionals can be influenced by stereotypes or social perceptions that are commonly held about a group, but often oversimplified, prejudice or judgmental. (6) These professional stereotypes may subsequently impact communication and teamwork.

An early paper examining professional stereotypes in an interprofessional setting included nursing and pharmacy students enrolled in a novel course, "Images of the Health Professions in the Media," and was published in 1987; however, no specific formal evaluation of stereotypes was conducted. (7) Since that time, various studies have evaluated interprofessional stereotypes of health care professionals (8) and students (9-19) using more formalized methods, but only select studies involved both nursing and pharmacy students. (9-13,16,17) While some studies assessed only the presence of baseline stereotypes, (12,13,16,18) others evaluated the impact of IPE interventions of various types and durations in regards to changing baseline professional stereotypes, with mixed results noted. (8-11,14,15,17,19) Furthermore, while all studies evaluated heterostereotypes or stereotypes of other professions, autostereotypes, also known as stereotypes of one's own profession, were analyzed by merely approximately half of the studies. …

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