Effective interprofessional teamwork and collaboration are essential to optimize quality and safety of care provision and health outcomes. Evidence suggests even before entering professional programs, students form stereotypical impressions of professional groups, which can set them in opposition to one another. An educational escape room experience was created based on the authors’ research which showed students interested in health professional careers are often socialized to consider the contributions of one profession over others at an early stage of career consideration. This perpetuates historical hierarchies and stereotypes and impedes future interprofessional collaboration. Moreover, students who held the most positive perceptions of health professions, outside of their chosen profession, had personal friendships/relationships representing that professional cohort.
This presentation will describe the development of an IPE mini-course, designed to challenge professional bias and stereotypes, that is offered to all health professional students. Students participate in online preparatory work related to professional identity and socialization, including completion of the Student Stereotypes Rating Questionnaire (SSRQ). The SSRQ is designed to collect data on student perceptions of both themselves and other health professional students. Students are then divided into interprofessional groups where they complete a two-hour escape room activity by working together to formulate positive messages about each represented health profession and confront any negative stereotypes.
The overall aim of this course is for students to learn with, from, and about one another to challenge stereotypes to enhance their future ability to collaborate. Students get to know one another outside of traditional hierarchical stereotypes and utilize identified individual and group strengths to solve problems collaboratively. Qualitative data and SSRQ pre- and post-testing measure the effectiveness of this intervention across nine areas including: interpersonal skills, leadership, decision making, and being a team player.
This research is being conducted as part of the CIHR funded study, grant #400785.