Interprofessional education (IPE) prepares healthcare students for collaboration in clinical practice, but the effectiveness of this teaching method depends on students’ readiness for and perceptions of IPE. Evaluating students’ readiness for and perceptions of IPE is challenging, due to the lack of comprehensive measures. This study characterized the level of IPE readiness and perspectives across first-year undergraduate and graduate health science students using the readiness for interprofessional learning Likert Scale (RIPLS) and Q-methodologies.
This is a cross-sectional, online study. Students were randomized to answer the Likert-scale version of RIPLS (80%) or a matched Q-methodology survey (20%). An ANCOVA compared RIPLS scores between students from different program levels (graduate/undergraduate) and specialization (health professional and general programs). The Q-data was analysed using a by-person factor analysis.
Three hundred and four (33% response rate) and 71 (30% response rate) students completed the Likert scale and the Q-methodology surveys, respectively. Students from graduate programs demonstrated high readiness for IPE (higher total RIPLS scores p < 0.001) in comparison to undergraduates. Three factors, associated with program specialization (p = 0.04), emerged from the Q-methodology analysis characterizing students learning priorities. Students in undergraduate general programs were focused on IPE relevance and benefits to “the clinical team”, students in graduate programs focused on “the patient”, and those in undergraduate health professional programs focused on themselves (“me”).
This novel mixed-methods approach combining traditional Likert-scales with Q-methodology elucidated not only associations between program and specialization with readiness (Likert) but also which components of IPE were valued the most (Q-methodology) and by whom.