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Abstract

INTRODUCTION Interprofessional education has attempted to positively impact and prepare students for future practice of collaboration among healthcare providers. However, few studies have assessed if short-term positive impacts on attitudes toward interprofessional collaboration can be sustained long-term. Comparing the current attitudes toward health care teams between osteopathic physicians who participated as medical students in an interprofessional clinical education program and those who participated in a similar medical student-only clinical education program, but without instruction in interprofessional education competencies, can help determine if sustained change is possible.

METHODS Surveys evaluating the attitude toward interprofessional teamwork of 23 osteopathic physician students who participated in an interprofessional clinical education program and 88 osteopathic physicians who participated in a medical student-only education program between 2003 and 2007 were completed and compared.

RESULTS An independent samples t test was conducted on subscales of physicians’ attitude toward team value, team efficiency, physicians’ shared role, as well as physicians’ rating of their current proficiency level of interprofessional teamwork skills. The results revealed no statistically significant differences among respondents from the interprofessional program and respondents from the intraprofessional program.

DISCUSSION Results of this study point to generally favorable attitudes toward interprofessional collaboration for both groups. It seems that regardless of pre-professional training, over time, a favorable attitude toward interprofessional collaboration is acquired.

CONCLUSION Future directions for research should continue to be focused on the long-term effect of interprofessional education on interprofessional practice as well as attitudes toward interprofessional teamwork and knowledge of interprofessionalism.

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