Communicative Disorders


Smith, Rachel

Advisor Department

Communicative Disorders




interprofessional education (IPE); interprofessional practice (IPP); communicative disorders; speech-language pathology; audiology


Many individuals live with chronic illnesses, various disabilities, and other complex needs that require an array of medical services from multiple disciplines within the healthcare field. To address the medical, behavioral and social needs of these patients, there has been an emphasis on providing treatment through interprofessional collaborative teams and interprofessional practice (IPP). These teams consist of multiple health professionals from various disciplines.

To ensure IPP teams are efficient and effective in the workplace, the application of interprofessional education (IPE) is key. The goal of IPE is to increase competency in interdisciplinary collaborative skills in students and future practitioners. In addition, IPE works to strengthen positive attitudes regarding interprofessional teams as well as expose students to the importance of other disciplines in addressing the complex needs of patients.

This honors project was inspired by an IPE program based here at the university entitled Interdisciplinary Assessments of Complex Neurological Cases. In this IPE training program students from various disciplines including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, audiology, and others, underwent interprofessional teamwork training and collaboratively assessed an adult with medical and therapeutic needs that crossed disciplines. Each of participating teams developed a comprehensive treatment plan and presented it all to participating faculty, students and patients.

This final paper is a compilation of research conducted regarding IPE and IPP as well as reflections of my experiences gained while participating in the IPE/IPP event. This paper will outline the benefits of IPE programs and the importance of patient-centered care. For further evidence of positive patient outcomes from the use of collaborative teams, this paper looks specifically at interprofessional collaboration within the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology. Exploring the patient benefits of interprofessional collaborative teams in healthcare and in two specific healthcare fields will highlight the importance of this kind of patient-centered care and the need for IPE programs to deliver this care successfully. The goal of this paper is to emphasize the need of additional IPE programs at URI and for the paper to be utilized as a resource in future IPE/IPP programs.