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Abstract

Background: There is a direct emphasis on interprofessional learning and interprofessional education (IPE) at the accreditation and national level (IPE, 2016). There are, however, no studies on the effectiveness in the delivery of interprofessional collaboration in the academic setting, specific to occupational therapy assistant students. Therefore, the following research has been developed to address this area of need in occupational therapy assistant education.

Methods: This research was conducted in the academic setting, through a simulated lab-based case with occupational therapy assistant and physical therapist assistant students as the participants. The perceived confidence and communication were measured through a pre and post survey using the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS). Qualitative data was collected 10 months after the IP event in the form of a focus group.

Results: Twenty-three students participated in the interprofessional event. The quantitative results while using a paired samples t-test indicated that IEPS pre-test mean scores (M = 90.08) were significantly different than the IEPS post-test mean scores (M = 97.95), (t [23] = 5.57, p < .001). The qualitative finding results resulted in the following themes: collaboration, building confidence and effective communication skills, during the IPE event, and student reflection of IPE.

Conclusions: Many health program accreditation bodies include IPE within their educational standards. The results of this one-day interprofessional event demonstrated that the participants showed an improvement in their perceptions of affective domain components within an interdisciplinary education program. The results were IEPS and all four subscales within the IEPS were statistically significant indicating that student learning occurred in all domains. Occupational therapy assistant faculty need to continue to seek creative avenues to support and incorporate IPE in the academic setting to better prepare OT practitioners to work collaboratively in the workplace and with the clients they serve.

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