Early-Learners' Expectations of and Experience with IPE: A Multi-Institutional Qualitative Study
Background: Multi-institutional qualitative studies are scarce within the interprofessional education (IPE) literature; such a report would provide comprehensive evidence for the application of interprofessional instruction among earlier learners. Objective: This investigation explored students' expectations of and barriers to introductory IPE across four institutions. Design: Qualitative inductive content analysis was utilized to interpret students' narrative responses to assigned pre- and post-survey questions. Setting: Health science schools of four U.S. institutions at Institution A, Institution B, Institution C, and Institution D. Participants: Twenty-two percent (n = 385) of eligible participants completed both pre- and post-surveys. Nursing student participation was greatest (n = 113, 33%), followed by occupational therapy (n = 44, 13%), and physical therapy (n = 36, 10%). All other program participation was <10%. In total, students' narrative comments from 19 degree programs were a part of the data set. Methods: Responses from one pre-survey question on expectations of introductory IPE and two post-survey questions on IPE benefits and barriers were studied using qualitative inductive thematic analysis. Results: Four themes emerged as IPE learning expectations and benefits: my own professional role, professional role of others, teamwork, and communication. The theme of interacting with peers surfaced as an additional IPE benefit. There were four themes noted as IPE barriers: course logistics, lack of context, course content, and social dynamics. Conclusion: This multi-institutional qualitative study adds to the literature by providing empirical evidence regarding early learner perceptions of IPE experiences. Student expectations and benefits of their introductory IPE course/curriculum aligned. Perceived barriers are useful in informing future IPE implementation and research.