Professional Development for Interprofessional Education: Outcomes of a Pilot Program
Background: Interprofessional education (IPE) is a major priority for health professions education programs preparing learners for professional team-based practice. Clinical settings have been recognized as the ideal context for learners’ development of interprofessional attitudes and competencies. A recent IPE practice guideline for interprofessional teaching concludes “faculty development to enhance existing skills is desirable and should combine a hands-on workshop with demonstration and feedback involving different professions”. At our institution, clinician-educators have limited professional development opportunities to learn how to effectively facilitate IPE. The purpose of this pilot program was to equip clinician-educators with knowledge, skills, and attitudes to effectively facilitate IPE with their learners in clinical settings.
Methods: Program activities consisted of four one-hour, in-person training sessions every two weeks. Participants were assigned readings prior to each session and incorporated deliberate application of instructional and facilitation skills with learners in clinical settings between sessions. Each session included brief content presentations, individual reflection, and structured group discussion about application of the skills. Program evaluation used a mix-methods design with pre- and post-program surveys. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize survey responses and paired t-tests were used to analyze the retrospective pre/post-test items. Simple thematic analysis was used to analyze open-ended survey items.
Results: Twenty-one participants from a variety of health professions participated. A majority (71%) of participants attended 3 or 4 of the sessions. Quantitative analysis of survey responses (n: 11) revealed statistically significant changes in participants’ perceptions of values and confidence in abilities to facilitate IPE. Thematic analysis also indicated changes in participants’ knowledge and behaviors. A majority of survey respondents (91%) rated the program as quite effective or extremely effective. Thematic analysis identified the most valuable content (definitions, collaborative practice model, facilitation skills, others’ perspectives, creating positive learning environment with emphasis on psychological safety), activities (literature, group discussion, networking), and the importance of the opportunity to engage in and encourage IPE.
Discussion: Clinician-educators from a variety of professions had interest and participated in an IPE professional development program. Participants perceived the program as effective in developing their knowledge, values, and confidence in abilities to facilitate IPE in clinical settings. The program is a model for sustainable professional development that could be delivered in multiple educational formats to meet needs of clinician-educators advancing IPE at our institution and beyond.
Disclosure: This project was funded by an educational grant from our institution's Academy for Health Professions Education and Academic Development.