Attitudes of Undergraduate Social Work Students Toward Interprofessional Health Care Practice and Interprofessional Health Care Education

Donna Hardy Cox, Michelle Sullivan, Pamela Button

Abstract


In 2005, the Centre for Collaborative Health Professional Education at Memorial University in Canada commenced an inquiry into the interprofessional education (IPE) of social work students. In the 2005/2006 academic year, undergraduate social work students were introduced to an IPE program at Memorial University for the first time. This interdisciplinary initiative brought together students from pharmacy, nursing, medicine, and social work to develop and encourage interprofessional educational activities with the purpose of increasing collaborative patient-centered practice competencies of students and professionals (Sharpe & Curran, 2006). In the subsequent three academic years (2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008) Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students explored a variety of IPE modules. This paper summarizes the available literature on the topic of IPE and reports on data collected from three cohorts of undergraduate social work students regarding their attitudes toward interdisciplinary team practice. Data collected are in relation to the Health and Wellbeing of Children module, one of the five module topics in which these students participated over the three-year period. It is proposed that by understanding student attitudes as they are evidenced at this early stage of professional development, valuable information will be provided to educators to inform best practices in the teaching and learning of interprofessional practice skills within the discipline of social work. Finally, the authors provide suggested directions for future research.


Keywords


social work education, interprofessional education, Canada, student attitudes, social work students

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