Main Article Content
Background: Interprofessional education helps in promoting mutual understanding and teamwork among health professional students. It is important that health professions students recognize their value in the healthcare system. However, the perspectives and readiness of health professions students towards interprofessional education have not been evaluated in the Pakistani context.
Aim: The aims of this study were to explore the students’ attitude toward interprofessional education, to investigate if the readiness of students enrolled in different healthcare programs differ from each other and to explore if the curricular design has any significant effect on their attitude towards IPE.
Methods: This comparative cross-sectional study has used pre-validated Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale inventory to find out the readiness of students enrolled in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and physiotherapy programs. Data was collected through QuestionPro, which is an online survey tool. The response of students on RIPLS questionnaire was recorded on a 5- point Likert scale. ANOVA and t-test were used to perform the comparative analysis.
Results: 394 students completed the questionnaire with a response rate of 68.17%. The students showed fairly positive attitudes (mean = 74.40, SD = 8.41) towards interprofessional education. Medical students showed maximum awareness of interprofessional education (mean = 75.96, SD = 6.71) whereas the response of dental students reflected the least awareness of IPE (mean = 71.29, SD = 8.34). The students of integrated curriculum showed more positive response towards IPE (mean = 75.39, SD = 6.86) as compared to the students of traditional curriculum (mean = 73.66, SD = 9.34).
Conclusion: In Pakistan, undergraduate students in healthcare professional studies value shared learning, teamwork, and collaboration. Overall, students of all professions showed a high level of readiness for interprofessional learning. Our findings indicated that medical students valued interprofessional education more than other disciplines. On the other hand, dental and physiotherapy students showed the least awareness, which may pose challenges to the Pakistani healthcare system. In our curricular comparison analysis, the more pronounced readiness of students in an integrated curriculum reflects its effectiveness in promoting interprofessional collaboration among future healthcare providers.
Interprofessional education; student perceptions; undergraduate education; teamwork; collaborative learning.