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Bridging didactic, interdisciplinary service learning and practice in health professions education : Students’ perspectives

St Hill Halcyon (Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, USA)
Julie Yazici Hulya (Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, USA)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 8 July 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an integrated model of didactic, practice and interdisciplinary service learning in healthcare education, and determine the students’ perceptions on the benefits of this integration.

Design/methodology/approach

A pre and post survey design was utilized to examine health professions students’ perspectives with respect to learning outcomes relevant to professional benefits of a service learning capstone. The surveys consisted of 36 items for measuring the interdisciplinary course characteristics and perceived benefits of the integrated approach. The required interdisciplinary (used interchangeably with interprofessional) course was constructed as an integrated didactic, practice interdisciplinary service learning model. The sample consisted of undergraduate students (n=53) who completed the interdisciplinary senior seminar capstone course taught by one faculty member in one of three course sections. Structural equation modeling based on partial least squares was used to analyze the significance of constructs. Students’ reflections on interdisciplinary service learning were also collected and summarized.

Findings

The study demonstrated the significance of interdisciplinary course and team preparation on perceived professional benefits and positive community service learning experience.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies are needed and being pursued to address practitioners’ perceptions of interdisciplinary education. To fully complete the assessment of interdisciplinary education, longitudinal studies must be pursued with graduates and their employers. A larger sample size could be used to repeat this study.

Practical implications

The model employed in this study may be utilized as a component of practice education and clinical practice to address accreditation requirements, quality patient-centred care, and engaging students in valuing interprofessionalism and service.

Originality/value

This study presents an integrated model of didactic, practice and interdisciplinary service learning in health professions education, and demonstrates the benefits of the model with health profession students’ perceptions of interprofessional education (IPE). This study contributes to professional learning research as the impact of IPE has been questionable due to lack of rigorous evidence.

Keywords

Citation

St Hill, H. and Julie Yazici, H. (2014), "Bridging didactic, interdisciplinary service learning and practice in health professions education : Students’ perspectives", Education + Training, Vol. 56 No. 5, pp. 447-466. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-02-2013-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited