Bridging the Transition from Learner to Practitioner: Unpacking Interactions Among Student Teams in Practice-Based IPE Settings
Background. In many healthcare settings, teams change composition regularly, so healthcare students must be trained to function effectively in dynamic teams before entering the workforce. At our institution, learners from various health professions participate in varied scheduled clinics in low-income housing communities for older adults. While this is a longitudinal IPE experience for learners, program schedules vary so team composition is dynamic. These dynamic student teams meet with clients for care coordination, health and wellness assessments, and assistance in setting and achieving health goals. During any given session, some students are participating for the first time while others have served multiple times.
Methods. As part of a larger research study measuring team effectiveness, we video-recorded 100 encounters between student teams and their clients, averaging 45 minutes each. We randomly sampled 15 videos to explore exactly how these teams function. Two members of our research team independently observed three discrete segments of each video and recorded their qualitative observations and reflections. The entire team discussed the observations, categorized them, and generated theories about the interactions. Saturation was reached with the first 15 videos, and the team identified relevant examples of both effective and ineffective team interactions.
Results. We identified four overarching themes and a number of sub-themes. Inclusiveness and lack thereof were seen in introductions, sharing of information, body language, and eye contact. Joy of practice and its corollaries were observed in client engagement, humor, and team conversations. Team function and the breakdown in function were revealed through familiarity with the clinic, varying levels of expertise, shared leadership, and team learning processes. Clinical sharing and lack of sharing were observed via information accuracy and the team’s efforts in addressing their client’s primary reason for consulting with the team.
Conclusion. Understanding how learning occurs in dynamic settings where patient care is taking place may help educators establish practice-based IPE models that better prepare learners to function effectively in dynamic teams.
Implications. Findings from this study are helping our institution and may help other institutions improve IPE activities to support specific behaviors and strategies that may improve team interactions.