Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health Services Research

Committee Director

Muge Akpinar-Elci

Committee Member

Johanna Hoch

Committee Member

Rebecca Posten

Committee Member

Andrea Parodi

Committee Member

Julie Cavallario


Background: Interprofessional education (IPE) programs have been shown effective in improving interprofessional collaborative practice (ICP) through increased communication and teamwork amongst healthcare professionals with the ultimate goal of improving patient safety and outcomes. However, their use and subsequent outcomes have not been reported amongst athletic trainers (ATs) and school nurses (SNs) in secondary school healthcare. The purpose of this study is to develop, implement and evaluate an IPE program designed to meet the needs of this unique healthcare setting. In addition, qualitative analysis will further describe the communication between ATs and SNs. Methods: A mixed method exploratory design was employed. Following recruitment and consent, participants were interviewed regarding their current interprofessional communication. Participants then completed the online learning program which consisted of a series of pre-outcome measures, 4 learning modules and post-outcome measures. One month following completion of the program, participants were interviewed again. Results: Participants exhibited high levels of self-efficacy and comparable attitudes towards teamwork and communication compared to normative values prior to beginning the program. Following the program, there was an increase in TeamSTEPPS® Teamwork and Attitudes Questionnaire (Z=3.078, P=0.002), an increase in the knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of the other profession and a positive response to the program. However, the interviews illustrated the presence of additional barriers which may prevent interprofessional collaborative practice (ICP). Conclusion: An IPE program was designed and implemented for high school ATs and SN that improved participant knowledge and attitudes towards the concepts of ICP. However, the presence of additional barriers continues to make ICP challenging. Future research should examine the use of modified IPE programs in addition to system wide policy changes to address additional ICP barriers.