Are First-Year Health Science Students Ready for Interprofessional Education?

Abstract

Objectives: Our objectives were to 1) develop an interprofessional conference for first year students at Bouve College of Health Sciences; 2) assess readiness and attitudes towards interprofessional learning before and after the conference. æMethods: Alcohol and substance abuse were chosen as topics for their relevance to college freshmen and health professionals. A half-day conference was based upon core competencies for interprofessional education (IPE) based on the IPE Collaborative and included 1) a presentation from the Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern regarding alcohol and drug abuse; 2) a personal account of drug addiction presented by a pharmacist; 3) a panel discussion representing all health programs in Bouve framing issues of interprofessional approaches to address substance abuse; 4) small interprofessional group discussions of cases facilitated by faculty and upper level students; and 5) a reflection and debriefing. A validated scale ñReadiness for Interprofessional Learning Scaleî (RIPLS) was administered a week before the conference (pre) and immediately after the conference (post). ææResults: 277 freshmen attended the conference (83.9%). RIPLS was completed by 293 students (89%) pre- and 203 students (73.3%) post-conference; 161 students had matched pre and post results. Overall, students were open to IPE before the conference and comparison of pre- and post-data demonstrated further significant improvement for 7 of 19 items (P<0.05), all of which were related to shared learning. ææConclusion: Our interprofessional conference was well attended and successfully provided information regarding substance abuse, interprofessional collaboration, and further improved freshmen attitudes towards IPE and shared learning.