Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing



First Advisor

Diane Martins


There is a growing need for healthcare teams to effectively collaborate and communicate to improve patient outcomes. The need to improve patient care has been well established and cited by the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on Quality Health Care in America landmark report, To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System (IOM, 1999; Kohn, Corrigan, & Donaldson, 2000). Health educational programs are known to be a gateway to changing behaviors of health professionals to impact practice and direct patient care. Interprofessional Education (IPE) has been identified as a viable mechanism to increase the collaboration and communication of health professionals in healthcare settings. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential impact of IPE on health professional students’ attitudes and perceptions and to explore the utility of the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS) in evaluating Interprofessional Educational programs. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) provided the framework for this study. ELT offers both a process for delivering IPE and a mechanism to maximize the learning of the health professional student. Health professional students (n=524) from five professions (Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and Social Work) participated in a bi-annual IPE Program located at a private medical school in the Northeast. Sixty-nine paired samples completed both the pre-test and posttest of an adapted version of RIPLS and four open-ended questions. A mixed method research design was used to measure student attitudes and perceptions of the IPE experience. A paired-sample t test was used to compare pre-test and posttest scores of student attitudes toward the IPE experience. Data from four professions (Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Physical Therapy) pre-test and posttest scores showed significance in four subscales. v Results through contemporary content analysis indicated students reported strong confidence in communication with other professions, an increased knowledge of importance with teamwork and collaboration, learning professional roles, respecting other professional point of views, and improved communication skills after the IPE experience. Recommendations to continue IPE in the curriculum were positive. Future studies need to continue to explore IPE and their linkage to improve patient safety outcomes. IPE is shown to increase attitudes and value towards roles of other professional and increase knowledge of healthcare teams that could lead to change in patient safety and patient outcomes.



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