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|All Authors / Contributors:||SL Schrader Affiliation: Department of Sociology, Augustana College, USA.; D Brechtelsbauer; J Heins; P Holland; PA Schroeder|
INTRODUCTION: Interdisciplinary education among health professions has been recommended, and related evaluation can be found in the literature. However questions remain on how effective interdisciplinary education is and what impact it has. The objective of this study was to determine changes in student attitudes and perceptions upon completion of a 5-week interdisciplinary palliative care seminar. METHODS: Pre-test and post-test instruments were administered at three five-week Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Seminars in Sioux Falls, SD during 2009-2010. The central hypotheses were that, at the conclusion of the seminar, students will have greater familiarity with their role in a team and more understanding of the roles of other disciplines in palliative care, and will identify positive contributions to professional practice and patient care using the team approach. Both quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed. RESULTS: Participating students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, and chaplaincy (N = 88) completed surveys. Quantitative data suggest that interdisciplinary education enhances students' understanding of their discipline and the work of other disciplines. Data show students perceive the team approach as enhancing patient outcomes, goal setting, and communication among colleagues. Qualitative data reinforced the importance of interdisciplinary education while revealing strains among disciplines in hierarchy and valuing. CONCLUSIONS: Playing one's part in the team strengthens students' confidence and comfort in interdisciplinary settings. Yet, the hazard of experiencing the limitations of teamwork in action must be acknowledged for some.
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