Informing the design of inter-professional education using an action research approach

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Background: Inter-professional education (IPE) is used to develop collaborative behaviours and practice in undergraduate pharmacy students. IPE should be guided by student-practitioner dialogue and theory, with realistic approaches to evaluation that are inclusive of, and responsive to context (Olson & Bialocerkowski, 2014). The use of action research methodologies are well-suited to guide a rigorous and learner-centred approach to the development of IPE. Aims: To critically explore undergraduate pharmacy student perceptions of the role of IPE in developing collaborative behaviours and practice at the study institution. Method: A sequential exploratory mixed methods design was used, including structured post-session evaluation questionnaires and voluntary semi-structured focus group interviews with final-year undergraduate pharmacy students at the study university. Qualitative data were anonymised, transcribed and coded before being inductively thematically analysed by the researcherpractitioner, and confirmed with student participants. Data were interpreted with reference to learning theory, through a reflexive, context-specific lens by the researcher-practitioner. Results: A total of 74 students (100%) completed the post-IPE session evaluation questionnaire, seven of whom later participated in the focus group. Findings showed that students particularly valued how IPE helped foster their appreciation of other professionals’ roles and challenged misconceptions. Participants described IPE interventions that encouraged meaningful discussion and challenge as most helpful and engaging, particularly when undertaken in a simulated environment. Conclusion: Overall, students demonstrated a positive attitude to IPE and its ability to develop collaborative behaviours and practice. Students were able to articulate, through the focus group and session evaluation, both beneficial and hindering features of IPE, which enabled critical reflection in order to evaluate and develop IPE at the study institution. The study was limited by a short duration and small sample of highly engaged students. Ongoing curriculum evaluation and development with a greater variety of students is required to sustain improvements to IPE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241
Number of pages1
JournalPharmacy Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event6th Pharmacy Education Conference 2019 - University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Jun 201924 Jun 2019
Conference number: 6


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