Perceptions of Peer-to-Peer Interprofessional Feedback Among Students in the Health Professions

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Abstract

Purpose

Interprofessional teamwork should include interprofessional feedback to optimize performance and collaboration. Social identity theory predicts that hierarchy and stereotypes may limit receptiveness to interprofessional feedback, but literature on this is sparse. This study explores perceptions among health professions students regarding interprofessional peer feedback received after a team exercise.

Method

In 2012–2013, students from seven health professions schools (medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, physical therapy, dietetics, and social work) participated in a team-based interprofessional exercise early in clinical training. Afterward, they wrote anonymous feedback comments for each other. Each student subsequently completed an online survey to rate the usefulness and positivity (on five-point scales) of feedback received and guessed each comment’s source. Data analysis included analysis of variance to examine interactions (on usefulness and positivity ratings) between profession of feedback recipients and providers.

Results

Of 353 study participants, 242 (68.6%) accessed the feedback and 221 (62.6%) completed the survey. Overall, students perceived the feedback as useful (means across professions = 3.84–4.27) and positive (means = 4.17–4.86). There was no main effect of profession of the feedback provider, and no interactions between profession of recipient and profession of provider regardless of whether the actual or guessed provider profession was entered into the analysis.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that students have positive perceptions of interprofessional feedback without systematic bias against any specific group. Whether students actually use interprofessional feedback for performance improvement and remain receptive toward such feedback as they progress in their professional education deserves further study.

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