Student voices on an interprofessional course.Med Teach. 2005 Aug; 27(5):433-8.MT
Investigations of outcomes of interprofessional education as a component of the basic preparation of health and human service professionals have lacked a strong focus on student perceptions, the student voice. This qualitative study examined students' insights regarding the interprofessional component of an elective course offered to 23 students; five from medicine and six from each of pharmaceutical sciences, nursing and social work. Fourteen students participated in focus group interviews at the conclusion of the course and 12 participated in telephone interviews six months later. The interviews explored perceptions regarding learning, including insights about the effectiveness of teaching-learning strategies, and improvements required. Experiential components of the course were more meaningful to students than theoretical components. Students perceived the use of practice-based learning, student interprofessional teams, and interprofessional collaboration in the classroom as particularly effective. The course contributed to students' development of their own professional voices and their understanding of those of other professions. Additional interpretive studies of students' experiences and those of faculty and professionals in practice are needed, particularly regarding strategies for increasing the effectiveness of experiential learning.