A cross-sectional study of paramedics' readiness for interprofessional learning and cooperation: Results from five universities
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Counselling and Equity
Introduction: Healthcare systems are evolving to feature the promotion of interprofessional practice more prominently. The development of successful and functional interprofessional practice is best achieved through interprofessional learning. Given that most paramedic programmes take an isolative uni-professional educational approach to their healthcare undergraduate courses, serious questions must be raised as to whether students are being adequately prepared for the interprofessional healthcare workplace. The objective of this study was to assess the attitudes of paramedic students towards interprofessional learning across five Australian universities. Methods: Using a convenience sample of paramedic student attitudes towards interprofessional learning and cooperation were measured using two standardised self-reporting instruments: Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS) and Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS). Results: Students' readiness for interprofessional learning did not appear to be significantly influenced by their gender nor the type of paramedic degree they were undertaking. As students progressed through their degrees their appreciation for collaborative teamwork and their understanding of paramedic identity grew, however this appeared to negatively affect their willingness to engage in interprofessional learning with other healthcare students. The tertiary institute attended also appeared to influence students' preparedness and attitudes to shared learning. Conclusions: This study has found no compelling evidence that students' readiness for interprofessional learning is significantly affected by either their gender or the type of degree undertaken. By contrast it was seen that the tertiary institutions involved in this study produced students at different levels of preparedness for IPL and cooperation.