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Dietetics students’ perceptions and experiences of interprofessional education

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Abstract Background: 

Interprofessional education (IPE) is a process through which students are provided with learning opportunities with other professions aiming to improve client care. The need to include effective IPE in preregistration programmes for health professionals is increasingly being recognised. The overall aim of the present study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of final-year dietetics students of IPE delivered through interactive online learning groups. Methods: 

A questionnaire was developed to evaluate the students’ satisfaction with the IPE modules, including importance to their clinical placements, and their understanding of the roles of other professions. Six dietetics students took part in a focus group that addressed the impact of participating in the IPE modules. The focus group discussion was recorded, transcribed and subjected to content analysis. Results: 

Twenty students completed the questionnaire (77% of the cohort). Satisfaction with the IPE modules increased as the programme progressed, with 65%, 90% and 95% of the respondents, respectively, being satisfied with the content, assessment and access of the final module. Participating in the programme enhanced the students’ opinions on the value of the roles of other professionals (80%) and enhanced their awareness of interprofessional issues (75%). Four key areas of interest emerged from the focus group analysis: key impressions; understanding the role of the dietitian and other professionals; the advantages and disadvantages of online delivery; and interprofessional working in the work environment. Conclusions: 

The most important outcome of participating in IPE was that students’ knowledge of other professions was enhanced, which had a positive impact on placements. An effective information technology infrastructure and appropriate scenarios are key requirements for the online delivery of IPE.

Keywords: dietetics; education; interprofessional; online; perceptions; students

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2011


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