Use of healthcare terminology is a potential barrier to interprofessional education (IPE). This study describes how junior learners perceive and classify healthcare terminology in IPE settings.
We conducted a mixed methods study involving 29 medical, 14 nursing, and 2 physician assistant students who had previously attended or were registered to participate in educational activities at McMaster University’s Centre for Simulation-Based Learning. 23 participants identified “inclusive” or “exclusive” terminology in a series of scenarios used for IPE workshops using an online survey. We collated lists of “inclusive” and “exclusive” terminology from survey responses, and characterized the frequencies of included words. 22 students participated in focus group discussions on attitudes and perceptions around healthcare terminology after attending IPE workshops. We identified themes through an iterative direct content analysis of verbatim transcripts.
Students analyzed 14 cases, identifying on average 21 terms per case as healthcare terminology (28% of overall word count). Of the 290 terms identified, 113 terms were classified as healthcare terminology, 46 as inclusive and 17 as exclusive by > 50% of participants. Analysis of focus group transcripts revealed 4 themes: abbreviations were commonly perceived as complex terminology, lack of familiarity with terminology was often attributed to inexperience, simulation was considered a safe space for learning terminology, and learning terminology was a valued IPE objective.
While students perceive a lot of healthcare terminology in IPE learning materials, categorization of terminology as “inclusive” or “exclusive” is inconsistent. Moreover, healthcare terminology is perceived as a desirable difficulty among junior learners, and should not be avoided in IPE.