Getting to know you: implementing an interprofessional education program for medical and respiratory therapy students in mechanical ventilation - challenges and lessons learned

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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The physician and respiratory therapist function as an interprofessional team caring for patients on mechanical ventilation. There is a paucity of research devoted to interprofessional education (IPE) of students from different professions in mechanical ventilation during clinical rotations in the medical intensive care unit (MICU). Student interprofessional education could develop team communication and shared decision-making skills early in training. The uniqueness of this introductory IPE programme is that it occurs during a clinical rotation in a real MICU, as opposed to a pre-clinical simulated campus setting, and it blends students from various educational backgrounds. Medical students and respiratory therapy students from different academic institutions participated in traditional lectures, small interprofessional group case-based problem-solving sessions, MICU bedside teaching sessions, written assessments, and focus groups. Quantitative responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative responses were categorised using the core competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. The purpose of this introductory IPE programme was to foster opportunities for interprofessional interaction during the student clinical experience while improving knowledge about mechanical ventilation. Qualitative expectations and feedback were predominantly positive. Quantitative responses suggest that students from both disciplines gained knowledge about mechanical ventilation in an IPE setting.

Keywords: Interprofessional education; MICU; mechanical ventilation; medical intensive care unit; medical students; respiratory therapy students.