Assessing Collaborative Practice Skill Retention and Restoration in Dental Medicine Students Across Interprofessional Forums
Dental medicine students often rate Interprofessional (IP) educational experiences as a lower priority for their curriculum than peers in other health professions. This may be due to the lack of exposure to other professions in standard dental medicine curricula. This study investigates trends in perceived interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) skills among third-year dental medicine students participating in two exposure level experiences with students from other professions across a large academic health center. Two cohorts of D3 dental medicine students (2018-2019 and 2019-2020) completed the Interprofessional Collaborative Competencies Attainment Survey (ICCAS) after participating in an in-person 2.5-hour Interprofessional Forum in the Fall and the following Spring semesters. Self-reported competencies were compared across Fall and Spring IP Forums using the ICCAS’ pre-and post-Forum ratings. Participants (n=185) reported perceived skill levels as Good to Very Good (M = 3.63, SD = 0.76) in interprofessional competencies prior to the Fall IP Forum. Skill levels were significantly higher with large effect sizes (d = 0.71 – 1.02) across all ICCAS subscales after participation in the Fall IP Forum. There was a perceived decline in these skills during the four months between the Fall (M = 4.21, SD = 0.68) and Spring IP Forums (M = 3.80, SD = 0.82), and restoration of IP skill levels after the Spring IP Forum (M = 4.20, SD = 0.83). Participation in IP Forums has a positive impact on students' IPCP skill perception. Our results suggest that repeated IP learning experiences are necessary to maintain IPCP competencies. The observed drop in perceived skill further reinforces the need to continually emphasize the importance of IPCP outside of these learning experiences. Dental school educators must provide opportunities for students to engage in collaborative practice experiences at all levels of their training so that dental medicine students have the capacity to embrace collaborative practice and enhance patient outcomes.