Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Evaluation of a Unique Interprofessional Education Program Involving Medical and Pharmacy Students

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Evaluation of a Unique Interprofessional Education Program Involving Medical and Pharmacy Students

Article excerpt


The Institute of Medicine recommends that health care education emphasize a team-based approach to patient-centered care, recognizing that health care is increasingly delivered by interprofessional teams. (1) To ensure graduates of health care professional programs are competent to practice in such environments, many accreditation bodies mandate that students have interprofessional education (IPE) experiences in their respective curricula. (2,3) According to the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education, IPE "occurs when two or more professionals learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care." (4) The majority of published IPE studies in two systematic reviews published by Reeves and colleagues have reported positive outcomes, which may relate to learner reactions, perceptions, attitudes, knowledge, skills, behavioral change, organizational practice, and in some cases, even improved patient outcomes. (5,6)

Many types of IPE activities have been described, including meet-and-greet opportunities, didactic instruction, joint courses, case studies, web-based discussions, community service learning, clinical placements, student-led clinics, interaction with simulated or standardized patients, team-based case conferences, in-home medication reviews, and joint Objective Structured Clinical Examinations. (7-18) Olson and Bialorcerkowski's systematic review of various interprofessional activities suggested that the outcomes of these events may be dependent upon the context in which they are delivered. (19) Specifically, the evidence in this review supports that, in general, IPE events appear to be effective. However, the authors note that the maturity (age) of the participants, or perceived power imbalances between professions may affect the success of a given IPE activity, and recommend that these and other factors be considered when planning, delivering and evaluating an event. (19)

Faculty members at the University of Waterloo's School of Pharmacy, and the Waterloo Regional Campus of the McMaster University Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine developed a mix of activities for an afternoon of IPE referred to as the Healthcare Interprofessional Education Day (HIPED). The schools are located in adjacent buildings on the University of Waterloo Health Sciences Campus in Kitchener, Ontario. Three different activities were held in both the medical and pharmacy schools: a patient-interview station, a reflective interprofessional communication discussion, and a prescribing station. The goal of the event was to build interprofessional competency in the areas of communication, collaboration and role-clarification for medical and pharmacy students. This study was designed to evaluate self-reported changes in these domains using a validated pre-post survey instrument.


Pharmacy students are required to build a passport of IPE experiences over the four years of their pharmacy training to demonstrate attainment of the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative Interprofessional Competencies. (20) The experiences consist of exposure activities (eg, in-class presentations by other health care professionals in the first year of the program), immersion activities (eg, participation in extracurricular activities such as the Geriatric Interprofessional Conference), and application activities (which occur during their clinical rotations). The Interprofessional Education Program (IEP) at the pharmacy school coordinates requests by students and instructors to have various activities designated as approved-IPE events.

The medical school has adopted a slightly different approach to IPE, under the direction of the Program for Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (PIPER) at McMaster University. Prior to clerkship, students must participate in at least one IPE activity at the exposure level (eg, a lecture or tutorial) and one at the immersion level (eg, participate in a home visit as part of an interprofessional team). …

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