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Physical therapy and pharmacy interprofessional education in the context of a university pro bono physical therapy setting.

  • Charrette, Ann L1
  • Sullivan, Karyn M2
  • Kucharski-Howard, Janna1
  • Seed, Sheila2
  • Lorenz, Laura3
  • 1 School of Physical Therapy, MCPHS University , Worcester , MA , USA.
  • 2 School of Pharmacy, MCPHS University , Worcester , MA , USA.
  • 3 Department of Education, Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaii Manoa , Honolulu , HI , USA.
Published Article
Journal of Interprofessional Care
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Sep 20, 2019
DOI: 10.1080/13561820.2019.1663160
PMID: 31538507


Interprofessional care is the standard for quality in healthcare. Interprofessional education (IPE) is an accreditation requirement in many health-care fields. This qualitative study evaluated the benefits of an interprofessional education program for Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students in the context of a pro bono physical therapy setting focused on reducing fall risk among older adults. For each pro bono participant, PharmD and DPT students worked together to analyze fall risk of the participating older adults. PharmD students completed a medication review while the DPT students completed balance assessments. Each profession recommended adjustments to care and presented their findings to peers, faculty, and participants. Following completion of the IPE program, students completed a voluntary evaluation with seven questions requiring semi-structured written reflection regarding their IPE experience. Student reflective responses from 2014-2016 were coded by IPE faculty using a coding guide collaboratively developed by the study team. Descriptive analysis included a summary of code frequency by year, discipline and Interprofessional Education Collaborative core competency: Values and Ethics, Communication, Teams and Teamwork, and Roles and Responsibilities. Values and Ethics were the most frequently coded core competency. Students consistently noted the importance of valuing the other profession, understanding each other's roles, having good interprofessional communication, and working within a health-care team. Additional codes emerged during the analysis process. Written reflective findings suggest that hands-on collaboration, focused on a real-world problem (fall risk) relevant to both PharmD and DPT students, enabled interprofessional care that benefited students through real-world practice of skills learned during coursework, and benefited clinical participants through increased awareness of physical function and medication factors that could affect fall risk. Findings indicate that a pro bono physical therapy setting can provide hands-on learning that meets IPE accreditation requirements and student learning needs while addressing a public health concern.

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