This study examined physical therapist students' perceptions of their learning from a year-long, community-based, client-focused, interprofessional education experience (IPE) involving nine disciplines.
Sixty-nine Doctor of Physical Therapy students (n = 69) completed a reflection paper at the end of an IPE, consisting of small group visits of students from four of the nine different health care disciplines, with families in their homes, larger structured group discussions with faculty, and a wellness project. The students participated in four home visits, and six discussion sessions were completed over two semesters. Two teams of two researchers reviewed and coded the papers to identify key words and phrases to reflect meaning. All researchers then reached a consensus on themes and subthemes. Triangulation of analysis occurred throughout the analysis, and quotes that reflected the important themes were identified.
Themes included the following: 1) learning about differences in perspective, 2) importance of team communication, 3) value of seeing a patient in their own environment and realizing how this affects their health and health behaviors, 4) making a connection with a patient, and 5) realizing that the patient's goals can be different from the students' expectations.
Discussion and Conclusions.
This IPE was perceived as an effective and meaningful instructional strategy. The realistic situated learning methods resulted in students appreciating the need for individualized consideration of the patient as a whole person. The extended period of team-based requirements fostered a deeper understanding of communication across professions and with clients, along with insights into the perspectives of different health care professionals.