A Qualitative Approach to Explore How Experiential Interprofessional Education Rooted in the Social Determinants of Health Fosters Interprofessional Socialization in Early Learners
Interprofessional socialization is essential to success in clinical practice and promoting population health, yet it is overshadowed by uni-professional development. Focusing only on uni-professional development is a lost opportunity for learners to foster awareness around each profession’s and patient’s values, beliefs, ethics, and lived experiences. Experiential interprofessional education (IPE) through practice settings for early learners can lead to changes in mindsets and work cultures in which individual, interpersonal, and systemic factors a patient encounters are discussed as an interprofessional team and in future practice. Little is known about the impact of early experiential IPE rooted in factors related to social determinants of health (SDH) on interprofessional socialization. We aimed to qualitatively assess how experiential IPE that intentionally used SDH as its framework influenced early learners’ development of an interprofessional identity while working with patients experiencing chronic disease, and how their mindsets shifted for future colleague/patient interactions.
Interprofessional student teams interviewed patients twice. Reflective prompts framed around SDH and representing aspects of an interprofessional team interacting with a patient that were filled out following the interviews were coded using the constant comparative method of analysis. Themes were derived and tallied for frequencies.
Themes derived from a prompt related to working with an interprofessional team included: 1) professional perspectives and 2) collaboration. Themes related to patients as a team member included: 1) active listening, 2) patients of similar/dissimilar backgrounds, 3) person-centered care, and 4) awareness. Themes derived from a prompt about future collaborations included: 1) collaboration, 2) awareness, and 3) person-centered care.
Engaging early learners in SDH-framed experiential IPE advanced their understanding of social factors patients experience as potential barriers to care delivery and the necessity of an interprofessional team addressing these factors to support person-centered care. Understanding the interprofessional socialization of early learners and how they address SDH as an interprofessional team merits continued study.
This experiential learning was powerful, as it shifted the focus from individual disciplines to working as an interprofessional team that considered patients as people who face various aspects of the SDH when seeking or receiving care. These early learners were open to reflecting on their potential biases, both personal and professional.