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Physical Therapist Student Outcomes of Interprofessional Education in Professional (Entry-Level) Physical Therapist Education Programs

A Systematic Review

Arth, Katherine S., PT, DPT; Shumaker, Emily A., PT, DPT; Bergman, Alissa C., PT, DPT; Nolan, Amanda M., PT, DPT; Ritzline, Pamela D., PT, MSPT, EdD; Paz, Jamie C., PT, DPT, MS

Journal of Physical Therapy Education: September 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 226–240
doi: 10.1097/JTE.0000000000000059
Systematic Review

Background and Purpose. Traditionally, the physical therapy profession has been involved with interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice. However, IPE was not a requirement for professional (entry-level [EL]) physical therapist (PT) curriculum until recently when the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) incorporated IPE into the Standards and Elements for professional (EL) physical therapist education programs. Therefore, this systematic review is aimed at synthesizing the available evidence regarding physical therapist student outcomes associated with various IPE instructional methods embedded in professional (EL) physical therapist education programs globally. The evidence gathered may help guide educators when developing and implementing IPE curricula into professional (EL) physical therapist programs.

Methods. This systematic review of the literature was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for searching and reporting processes. Individual searches were developed for PubMed, ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health, and CINAHL. The EBSCOhost databases, ERIC, Education Full Text, and Education Research Complete, were searched simultaneously using a similar comprehensive search strategy that included search terms related to 1) education, 2) interprofessional, and 3) physical therapy.

Results. Thirteen articles met the inclusion criteria. Outcomes were measured by 6 different outcome measures (OMs) and achieved by a variety of teaching and learning methods. Multiple studies demonstrated an improvement in attitudes toward perception of and perceived need for collaboration among health care professionals of PTs, as well as improved competency, and autonomy after participation in IPE. Physical therapists valued shared leadership and participation, as well as displaying a readiness to learn with other disciplines. Some studies reported negative outcomes related to the ability of shared learning to increase understanding of clinical problems and improve interprofessional communication and teamwork.

Conclusion. Both positive and unintended negative outcomes may result from IPE. The OMs reported in this review measure components of teamwork, roles and responsibilities, communication, learning/reflection, patient focus, and ethics/attitudes. Using more than 1 OM seems to measure the outcomes of IPE more effectively. In summary, current evidence suggests an overall positive impact of IPE on PTs' competency and autonomy, teamwork, collaboration, communication, and readiness to learn achieved by a variety of instructional methods.

Katherine S. Arth is a school-based physical therapist in Northeast Ohio, Walsh University, 2020 East Maple Street, North Canton, OH 44720 ( Please address all correspondence to Katherine S. Arth.

Emily A. Shumaker is a staff physical therapist at a skilled nursing facility.

Alissa C. Bergman is a staff physical therapist at an outpatient orthopedic clinic.

Amanda M. Nolan is a staff physical therapist in early intervention programs.

Pamela D. Ritzline is the Dean of the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences and a professor of physical therapy at Walsh University.

Jamie C. Paz is the program director of Physical Therapy and a professor of Physical Therapy at Walsh University.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Received April 10, 2018

Accepted April 25, 2018

Copyright2018 (C) Academy of Physical Therapy Education, APTA
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