Professional Poster

Dental Student Perceptions of Teamwork During an Interprofessional Service-learning Experience

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 10:00 am - 10:00 am EDT

Background: Dental professionals have been strong advocates for interprofessional education (IPE). At the University of Florida

College of Dentistry, all first-year dental students participate in a required interprofessional service-learning experience, Putting

Families First (PFF). During PFF, students in diverse, interprofessional teams of four, are assigned a local volunteer family during the

first academic year. Teams conduct four home visits and implement a health improvement project focused on the family’s health and

well-being. Study Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine student perspectives on the use of teamwork skills during an

interprofessional educational experience. Methods: Dental student responses from 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 were qualitatively

analyzed. Open coding by hand was used to identify key words and themes. The themes and open codes were compared and

contrasted among the researchers until a general consensus was reached on themes. Results: Researchers discovered three metathemes:

value, skills and time. Researchers also found nine sub-themes prevalent in responses: teamwork, adaptability, mutual

support, trust, communication, time, feedback, coordination and accountability. Our findings indicate dental students understood the

importance of interprofessional teamwork and service learning within the context of PFF. Students communicated an understanding

of how teamwork skills can impact team-oriented outcomes. Dental students seemed to value many teamwork skills that contributed

to the success of both their interprofessional team and their service-learning experience. Conclusion: Engagement in a longitudinal

experience that is patient centered, though one that requires time and time outside of the classroom, is valued by the students for its

interprofessional collaborative competency development. Reflections/Implications: The need to offer dental students effective

interprofessional learning experiences that promote their interprofessional collaborative competencies, including specific teamwork

skills, is necessary for the students’ education and future success as practitioners. Our interprofessional service-learning program,

PFF, appears to provide students the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the importance of interprofessional teamwork for patient

care and several of the teamwork skills we aspire for them to acquire.