Wheater, Michelle, Jessica Kosinski, and Pamela Zarkowski
Health care professionals educated to deliver patient centered care as members of an interdisciplinary team present a challenge for educational programs. Buring et al. (Am. J. Pharm. Educ. 2009;73:59-68) noted the definition of interprofessional education is varied. Many institutions have adopted the Center for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education definition of interprofessional education (IPE): “IPE occurs when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care.” ADEA defined IPE as involving students and faculty of all health professions in learning and teaching complementary knowledge and skills for patient care. The objective of this study was to determine the level of knowledge of University of Detroit Mercy faculty teaching in health and/or oral health professions programs regarding the definition and concept of IPE. Methods: Adult male and female faculty who teach in the health professions programs at University of Detroit Mercy were surveyed electronically. Faculty from the School of Dentistry who teach dental and dental hygiene students, and faculty from the College of Health Professions and McAuley School of Nursing who teach in the nursing, nurse anesthesia, physician assistant, and health services administration programs were surveyed. Seven of the ten questions were posed to determine faculty knowledge of the concepts of IPE, based on elements of the CAIPE definition, using a Likert scale response. Approval as an exempt study was obtained from the University of Detroit Mercy IRB prior to administration of the survey (IRB Protocol Number 1011-04). Results: 50 faculty from all of the above stated health professions programs responded to the survey. 88.0% of the respondents agreed that they had knowledge of the term IPE. 100% of the respondents agreed that IPE involves students from two or more different professional programs, and that IPE occurs when student learn with, from, and about each other. 88.0% agreed that IPE is an effective learning strategy to promote better patient healthcare quality, and 84.0% agreed that IPE results in improved quality of care for patients. While 98.0% of the respondents agreed that students who participate in IPE experiences will gain a greater appreciation for the roles and responsibilities of all healthcare professionals; 84.0% agreed that a healthcare professions curriculum should include IPE opportunities. Conclusions: The majority of the faculty who teach in health professions programs at the University of Detroit Mercy are knowledgeable of the concept of IPE. Not all professional schools incorporate interprofessional education activities, and there is no agreement among academic institutions that it is even necessary for optimum education. It is interesting to note that while almost all respondents agreed that students will have a richer educational experience by participating in IPE, relatively fewer faculty thought that IPE should be a component of the curriculum.