“Teams that work together should learn together”: Exploring undergraduate paramedic students’ perceptions of an inter-professional simulation event

Sarah Byden, Maree Bernoth, Rob Bear

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Introduction: Paramedics are often required to effectively collaborate with other healthcare professions, to ensure optimal patient outcomes (Williams & Webb, 2015). Therefore, it is imperative that graduates transition into clinical practice with sufficiently developed attitudes and capabilities for interprofessional collaboration (IPC). However, undergraduate healthcare education has traditionally adopted a “siloed” approach, with minimal interaction provided between students of various health professions (Furseth et al., 2016). A greater focus on interprofessional learning is essential, for undergraduate paramedic students to successfully fulfil their role as interprofessional collaborators. To aid in this endeavour, this study explored undergraduate paramedic students’ perceptions of an interprofessional simulation event (IPSE).

Methods: This descriptive qualitative study was underpinned by the principles of Deweyan pragmatism. Convenience purposive sampling was used to recruit fourteen undergraduate paramedic students to participate in a single day IPSE and a follow up focus group. The qualitative data collected during the focus group was analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Analysis of the focus group transcript revealed two major themes. The first major theme, ‘challenging pre-conceived expectations’, was divided into two sub-themes, ‘role identity’ and ‘communication’. The second major theme was ‘education and curriculum’. The results highlighted novel insights regarding how participants perceived the IPSE. Participants saw the IPSE as a valuable opportunity to learn with, from and about other healthcare professions. However, the findings also revealed that participants commenced the IPSE with pre-conceived expectations of their own and other healthcare professionals’ roles and capabilities. These expectations were shaped by the participants sense of a professional hierarchy, which influenced how well they successfully communicated with other professions to negotiate the shared space during the simulation.

Discussion/ Conclusions: The results of this study have reinforced how IPL can counteract the negative impacts of siloed approaches to curriculum and more positively shape an undergraduate paramedic student’s ability to become an effective interprofessional collaborator. It is essential that more frequent IPS events are implemented within paramedic undergraduate curriculum to reduce stereotypical thinking, promote respect, develop empowerment in communication and create opportunities for active academic role modelling, thereby equipping students for real-world IPC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages1 - 110
Number of pages110
Publication statusPublished - 05 May 2023


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