Interdisciplinary teamwork is a vital component of high quality healthcare provision and interprofessional education (IPE) initiatives can enhance collaboration and professional practice. Introducing IPE at undergraduate level is considered to be desirable. Palliative care education has been suggested as a suitable setting for IPE at undergraduate level. However, IPE is complex and presents many practical and pedagogical challenges. A successful 5-credit optional module for medical students was modified and offered as an IPE initiative to medical and nursing undergraduates.
To examine the educational impact of an optional IPE module in palliative care for undergraduate medical and nursing students
The 40 enrolled students completed validated educational assessment tools pre and post module:
1. Self Efficacy in Palliative Care (SEPC)
2. Thanatophobia Scale (TS)
3. Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS)
Pre and post scores were analysed using Paired Student’s t-tests.
Qualitative information from a student feedback questionnaire was thematically analysed.
Pre and post SEPC, TS and RIPLS were completed by 32 students. The results of analysis of SEPC (3 components – communication, patient management and teamwork) and TS are summarised in the following table:
Mean (pre) SD
(post) SD (post) p-value
Communication 32.47 16.61 58.75 19.98 .000
Patient mgt 46.15 20.77 60.99 15.14 .000
Team work 52.59 16.34 67.50 15.06 .000
TS 3.08 1.07 2.30 1.00 .000
Pre and post RIPLS scores were high and no significant differences were found.
Analysis of qualitative data revealed increased understanding of:
• Patient and family issues
• The concept of Total Pain
• Interdisciplinary teamworking
• Value of interprofessional education
The module demonstrated educational benefits in terms of both understanding of key aspects of palliative care and interdisciplinary teamwork. The IPE aspect of the module provided added value.