Introducing interprofessional education (IPE) in healthcare curricula can prepare students for healthcare practices that have become increasingly complex. The use of simulation is promoted to support IPE. This study explores healthcare students’ experiences of participating in common, sub-acute patient scenarios that routinely occur in clinical practice in primary care. More specifically, it looks at how sub-acute patient scenarios from primary care can help develop interprofessional collaborative competence.
Medical students (N = 10), master’s students in advanced geriatric nursing (N = 8) and bachelor’s students in nursing (N = 9) participated in the simulations. The students were in their last or second-to-last year of education. We conducted five semi-structured focus group interviews with the participants’ directly after the simulation training to elicit experiences related to the scenarios, the simulation and interprofessional collaboration. The transcripts were analysed using systematic text condensation. To supplement the focus group interviews, the students also completed the interprofessional collaborative competency attainment survey (ICCAS), which measures the students’ self-assessed interprofessional competence.
Three main themes emerged from the analysis of the focus group interviews: realism, uncertainty and reflection. The students emphasised the importance of authentic and recognisable scenarios. They said the vague and unspecific patient symptoms created uncertainty in the situation, making it difficult to understand the patient’s diagnosis. Despite that uncertainty, they described the experience as positive. Further, the students expressed that the simulation increased their confidence in interprofessional collaboration and prepared them for future work. The results from the ICCAS questionnaire showed that the students reported a subjective positive change in their interprofessional competence after participating in the scenarios.
This study showed that simulation-based IPE with sub-acute primary care scenarios contributes to develop interprofessional collaborative competence in healthcare education. Sub-acute scenarios can supplement the more common approaches with acute care scenarios and aid in developing the collaborative competence required to work in healthcare teams.
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