1.0 professions the opportunity to learn with, from

1.0   CHAPTER ONE

1.1 Background           

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The
complex nature of today’s healthcare, which aims not only to cure and prevent
disease but also to promote health, requires effective collaboration between
various healthcare professionals (Lestari, Stalmeijer, Widyandana, et al, 2016). However,
interprofessional collaboration is not self-evident and is fraught with
problems such as ineffective communication, poor interprofessional
relationships, a lack of trust between team members, and an underestimation of
other health professionals’ roles (Besner, 2008). These factors impede the
effective involvement of all team members in collaborative decision-making
regarding patient care and the implementation of healthcare services (Lestari,
Stalmeijer, Widyandana, et al, 2016).
To partially address this problem, the World Health Organization has
recommended the introduction of interprofessional education (IPE) which helps
future healthcare professionals prepare for their collaborative role in the
healthcare system (WHO,
2010). Interprofessional
education offers students from different health professions the opportunity to
learn with, from and about each other’s profession and has been recognized as a
means to safely promote and develop the collaboration skills students require
in their later profession (Lestari, Stalmeijer, Widyandana, et al, 2016). Research has revealed that health professionals who
were trained to collaborate as a team in an interprofessional educational
setting during their student years were far more likely to be effective
collaborators in their future professional clinical setting (Jacobsen and
Lindqvist, 2009). Interprofessional education has been shown to be effective at
learner levels, patient care levels and organization levels (Fallatah, Jabbad, Fallatah,
2015). Interprofessional education (IPE) is an important academic approach for
preparing health-care students to offer patient care in a collaborative team
environment (Al-Eisa, Alderaa, AlSayyad, et
al, 2016). The World Health Organization defines IPE as “a process that
occurs when two or more professionals learn about, from, and with each other to
enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes” (WHO, 2010). The IPE
for collaborative patient-centered practice has three components which are
“socializing health-care professionals to work together”; “developing mutual
understanding and respect for various disciplines”, and “imparting
collaborative practice competencies” (Al-Eisa, Alderaa, AlSayyad, et al, 2016). Students from different health
professions in a lecture hall receiving the same learning experience without
reflective interaction among students from the various professions is
considered not to be IPE (Greiner and Knebel, 2003). Also a faculty member from
a different profession leading a classroom learning experience without relating
how the professions would interact in an interprofessional manner of care and
participating in a patient care setting led by an individual from another profession
without sharing of decision-making or responsibility for patient care are also
considered not to be IPE (Greiner and Knebel, 2003).

 

1.2 Problem statement

Effective collaboration between
health professionals improves patient care outcomes and increases patient
satisfaction (WHO, 2010). The need for health care team members who provide
high-quality care in the most collaborative and competent way led to the
significance of IPE (Hall and Weaver, 2001). Each member of a health care team
needs to understand the role of other members from different professions using
appropriate communication and conflict-management skills (Fallatah, Jabbad,
Fallatah, 2015). Furthermore, “The aging society, the increase in chronic
illnesses and patients in need of complex care, and rapidly evolving scientific
knowledge has necessitated interprofessional collaborations for optimal patient
care” (Thistle, 2012). However, the 2010 Lancet report states that health care
students today are not being adequately prepared for interprofessional
collaboration due to the siloed nature characterizing most health professions
education and socialization (Frenk, Chen, Bhutta, et al, 2010). Casual conversations during clinical rotations and
attachments reveal that most clinicians do not possess sufficient knowledge of
the role of other members from different professions in the treatment of
patients. It is in this regard that the study of this kind is needed to
determine if IPE would be sufficient to make health care professionals collaborate
in an effective manner to improve patient care and recovery.

 

1.3
Justification of the study

Currently,
most health professional education is delivered in a traditional, discipline
specific way and this approach is limited in its ability to equip graduates
with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes for effective
interprofessional collaboration and for working as part of a complex health
care team (Lapkin, Levett-Jones, Gilligan, 2013). Compared with traditional
education, Interprofessional education has been found to enable the knowledge
and skills necessary for collaborative teamwork (Hammick, Freeth, Koppel, et al., 2007). Interprofessional
education is effective in teaching students the roles of other health care
professions and changing students’ attitude towards them (WHO, 2010). In
interprofessional education, knowledge and value sharing occurs within and
across disciplines (Olenick, Allen, Smego, 2010).  Interprofessional education increases job
satisfaction and decreases workplace tension and conflict (Ponzer, Hylin,
Kusoffsky, et al, 2004).
Interprofessional education has also been found to have a positive effect on
patient care, patient and family satisfaction, patient safety and error rates
(Buring, Bhushan, Broeseker, et al,
2009). Interprofessional education is cost-effective and leads to savings by
reducing the use of services, leading to less redundancy in medical testing
(Reeves, Perrier, Goldman, et al,
2013). Interprofessional education has positively affected the appropriate use
of health resources and increased the use of preventive services (WHO, 2010).
Interprofessional education eliminates segmented education between health care
professionals, thereby relinquishing hierarchies, misperceptions and
miscommunications (Olenick, Allen, Smego, 2010). Interprofessional education
legitimizes a holistic approach in which health care professionals recognize
one another’s contributions to patient care (Olenick, Allen, Smego, 2010). It
deconstructs preconceived, inaccurate stereotyping and rebuilds accurate
identities and knowledge for appropriate utilization of all health care
professional resources (Olenick, Allen, Smego, 2010). In view of this,
physiotherapists as health care professionals need IPE to enable them
collaborate with other health care professionals to improve patient care and
recovery.

 

1.4
Aim of the study

To determine the attitudes of Allied Health students towards
Interprofessional education and their readiness to participate in
Interprofessional education activities.

 

1.5
Objectives of the study

To determine the attitudes of Allied
Health students towards Interprofessional education.
To determine the readiness of Allied
Health students to participate in Interprofessional education activities.
To compare the differences of readiness
for interprofessional learning between the different health care
disciplines.

 

1.6
Delimitation

The study would involve
Allied health students of the University of Ghana only.