Utilizing Interprofessional Education Simulation Training on Weight Bias to Influence Students’ Attitudes and Perceptions of Overweight and Obese Patients
Medical providers demonstrate weight bias (WB) to varying degrees, which negatively impacts quality of care and patient outcomes. WB is defined as the “negative weight-related attitudes, beliefs, assumptions and judgments toward individuals who are overweight and obese”. WB develops early in medical education, yet there are few established WB healthcare training programs. The objective of this study was to provide an interprofessional education (IPE) simulation activity, comparing its impact to a traditional style lecture on students’ weight-related attitudes and perceptions.
44 students at UAMS from medical, pharmacy, physician assistant, and nursing programs participated in an IPE simulation activity involving a patient encounter utilizing obese standardized patients (SP), group debriefing, SP feedback, and an educational presentation on WB. 36 students at UAMS from the physician assistant program were given a traditional 2-hour lecture on WB. A pre- and post-questionnaire was administered to both groups to assess student perceptions of WB, provider experience with obese patients, and perceived causes of obesity. Median scale scores for the pre- and post-questionnaires are evaluated for significance of differences within IPE or lecture group using the sign test for two-sample paired data. Two-sample Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used for data that violated the assumptions of the parametric test. Difference in difference analysis was conducted to examine the score changes between IPE and lecture groups after adjusting for potential confounders in the generalized linear regression model.
The distributions of the score changes in the IPE group were significantly different from the lecture group for three questions in Perceived Treatment Outcomes of Obesity scale. The changes of score were greater in the IPE group as compared with the lecture group. The responses changed in the direction from “Not at all” to “Very much”. Those who attended IPE training showed a significant increase in “Introspective” score by 0.535 (p=0.031) or in “Enjoy/Value” score by 0.696 (p=0.018), when compared to the traditional lecture.
IPE simulation WB training utilizing obese standardized patients is superior to the traditional lecture model in positively impacting students’ weight-related attitudes and perceptions regarding perceived treatment outcomes of obesity.
IPE simulation WB training should be incorporated in medical programs in order to influence student perceptions of overweight and obese patients, cultivate stronger patient-provider relationships, and ultimately improve overall patient outcomes.