“The Power of Many Minds Working Together”: Qualitative Study of an Interprofessional, Service-Learning Capstone Course

Sheila Adams Leander, S. Maggie Maloney, Irma Ruebling, Rebecca Banks, David Pole, Ginge Kettenbach


Background: An interprofessional faculty group analyzed a critical reflection assignment of students in a service-learning practicum interprofessional education (IPE) course. Students were from ten programs: physical therapy, occupational therapy, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy, athletic training, nursing, investigative medical science, cytotechnology, nutrition and dietetics, and clinical laboratory science. Research questions investigated what the assignments revealed about students’ application of beliefs, emotions, and behaviours, and if course objectives were met.

Methods and Findings: This qualitative study retrospectively analyzed one critical reflection from the course conducted in 2011. Researchers selected a stratified sample of 40 assignments from a population of 278. Nine major themes emerged: achieving IPE outcomes, engaging in team process, learning culture/community engagement, being client/patient centred, becoming aware of behaviours, experiencing barriers, articulating beliefs, connecting with course objectives, and expressing emotions.

Conclusions: In an IPE practicum course, transformative learning was evident. Students articulated beliefs, emotions, and behaviours related to interprofessional teamwork. Students expressed detailed understanding of team processes. For future research, critical reflection assignments were useful to assess student beliefs, emotions, and behaviours in a practicum course. We suggest studying practice among health professionals who have experienced IPE compared with those who have not had IPE in their professional curricula.


Interprofessional education; Practicum; Interprofessional; Teamwork; Critical reflection

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22230/jripe.2014v4n2a170