Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

John M. Ritz

Committee Member

Philip A. Reed

Committee Member

Ginger S. Watson


Healthcare professionals have historically been educated and trained by members of their own profession within a curriculum that reinforces their individual discipline-specific strengths. This differentiation has contributed to students having little interaction with other professionals until after they have entered the workforce and consequently little formal education in collaboration or integration. The purpose of this mixed-method study was to evaluate the impact of an interprofessional (IP) collaborative activity on student's perceptions of the others discipline for the improvement in care of medical patients.

The sample population consisted of students from two programs, nursing (n=40) and respiratory therapy (n=33). Students were prepared prior to the IP activity on the content and psychomotor aspects of their individual health care competencies. Mannequins of moderate fidelity were used to enable each participant to perform discipline specific procedures during the course of a trauma simulation. After viewing an introductory video, participants were instructed to assist and educate the other member during the critical components of the scenario on their respective procedures. A modified Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS), adapted with permission, was administered one week prior to and immediately after the simulation activity. The IEPS uses four subscales to assess individual's perception of competency and autonomy, perceived need for cooperation, perception of cooperation, and understanding the value of others. Pre- and post-test scores on the IEPS sub-scales were analyzed with univariate, repeated measures two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Main effects for profession and time (2x2), as well as interactions, were tested on each sub-scale. In addition, a qualitative content analysis based on the open-ended questionnaire was performed on all subjects.

There was a significant change in all four subset scores following the IP activity when investigating the main effect of time. Neither effect of profession or interaction within any of the four subscales reached statistical significance. Qualitative analysis of participant questionnaires supported the quantitative findings that the simulation experience was effective in promoting positive change in the participants' perceptions.

This study demonstrated an effective method to increase students' perceptions of attributes found in effective clinical teams. Healthcare educators should incorporate structured, interprofessional (IP) simulation activities within their curricular programs to improve competency, cooperation, and value placed on other health care professions.