Interprofessional faculty group authors paper on impact of cross-disciplinary learning

Elizabeth Crampsey
Elizabeth Crampsey, Ed.D., lead author on the new publication.

Elizabeth Crampsey, Ed.D., M.S., OTR/L, BCPR, associate clinical professor of occupational therapy at UNE, is the lead author on a new publication examining the impact of interprofessional learning on collaborative workplace practices. A research collaboration between UNE faculty, professional staff, and students, the paper, “The Impact of Immersive Interprofessional Learning on Workplace Practice,” has been published in the Journal of Interprofessional Education and Practice. 

Kira Rodriguez, M.H.S., senior research associate within UNE’s Center for Excellence in Public Health; Shelley Cohen Konrad, Ph.D., LCSW, FNAP, director of UNE’s Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education (CECE); and Kris Hall, M.F.A., CECE program manager, are co-authors on the study. Student researchers involved in the project include Stephanie DeCarvalho (D.O., ’23), Kelsey Pelletier (D.O., ’23), Caroline Jaeger (D.O., ’24), and Dakota Rogers, M.S.O.T. ’22.

The mixed-methods exploratory study examined knowledge and skill transfer from campus-based interprofessional education (IPE) to workforce collaborative practice. The authors were interested in learning whether and how health professions graduates implemented IPE knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills gained during their time at university in their professional practices. 

The study employed an alumni survey and facilitated focus groups; the survey used quantitative Likert-type rating scales with opportunities for participants to respond to open-ended questions.

Results from the quasi-experimental study show that participants in the intervention group (health professions students who self-selected exposure to intensive IPE programming) rated their IPE skills significantly higher than the control group (health professions students not exposed to the intensive IPE programming). 

No significant difference was noted between the intervention and control groups in their current team behavior ratings. Qualitative findings from the survey and the focus groups suggested four common themes:

  1. Interprofessional competencies learned while at university readily transferred to workforce practice
  2. Alumni appreciated having learned IPE competencies and skills to prepare for future employment
  3. Awareness of others' diverse perspectives and roles was advantageous to working on teams and with other professions
  4. IPE aided in alumni's value for patient-centered approaches

Overall, the study suggests that alumni who participated in immersive IPE activities valued campus-based interprofessional learning and self-reported bringing university-acquired collaborative knowledge and skill into their work environments to the benefit of patients and practice teams.

The impact study team continues to research IPE knowledge transfer from campus to clinical practice with colleagues from four other institutions. The next study looks to better understand skills and competencies employers seek in new health professions graduates. 

“Working cross-institutionally will strengthen understanding of the benefits of student participation in interprofessional education prior to entering the workforce as well as knowledge that will inform IPE curricular and co-curricular development and design,” Crampsey said. “We are excited to be demonstrating the impact of CECE and IPE at UNE both within our community but also the influence on client-centered best practices in the workforce.”