Exploring Effects of Interprofessional Education on Undergraduate Students Behaviour: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Johannes Maximilian Just, Martin W Schnell, Maren Bongartz, Christian Schulz


Background: One way to improve the quality of palliative care for elderly patients is to use an interprofessional team approach, which may be encouraged through interprofessional education (IPE). However, the effectiveness of IPE interventions has yet to be proven. We therefore designed a randomized controlled trial using a simulated practice setting to measure the effects of an IPE intervention on medical students’ clinical behaviour.
Methods: Undergraduate nursing (N = 20) and medical (N = 20) students were evenly assigned to either an intervention or a control group. Students in the intervention group received interprofessional curriculum (12 teaching units), and the control group was given written material containing the content of the IPE curriculum. Using a pre-post design, clinical behaviour of matched pairs of nursing and medical students was analyzed for qualitative (care objectives) and quantitative aspects of communication (initiation, interruptions, speaking time, and exchanged information items). Statistical analyses included chi-square, Fisher’s exact, and t-tests, where appropriate.
Results: Care objective scores improved in both groups (categories N = 6, p-range = intervention group: .001–.630; control group: .001–.888). Interruptions and speaking time showed no change between or within groups, while the number of nursing student-initiated contacts increased (p = .0007). The number of information items exchanged increased significantly in both the intervention group (Pre: M = 9.65, SD = 1.79; Post: M = 12.35, SD = 1.87; p = .001) and the control group (Pre: M = 8.75, SD = 2.59; Post: M = 11.75, SD = 2.22; p = .001).
Conclusions:We found a moderate effect of IPE on a change in interprofessional
communication style.


Interprofessional education; Nursing; Behaviour; RCT; Palliative care; Elderly

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22230/jripe.2010v1n3a41