A National Survey on the Use of Immersive Simulation for Interprofessional Education in Physical Therapist Education Programs

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Abstract

Introduction

There is growing recognition that collaborative practice among healthcare professionals is associated with improved patient outcomes and enhanced team functioning, but development of collaborative practitioners requires interprofessional education (IPE). Immersive simulation, a clinically relevant experience that deeply engages the learner in realistic clinical environments, is used increasingly for IPE. The purpose of this study was to assess the use of immersive simulation as a strategy for IPE in physical therapist (PT) education programs.

Methods

During fall 2014 and spring 2015, we contacted all 214 Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education accredited PT education programs in the United States and invited a faculty member to participate in our online survey.

Results

One hundred fourteen PT programs responded (53% response rate). Eighty responding programs (70%) identified themselves as users of immersive simulation, and 45 programs (39%) used simulation for IPE. Of these 45 programs, more than 90% included Interprofessional Education Collaborative competency learning objectives of roles/responsibilities, interprofessional communication, and teams/teamwork and 51% reported learning objectives for values/ethics for interprofessional practice. Interprofessional simulations with PT students commonly included nursing (91%). In programs using immersive simulation for IPE, 91% included debriefing and 51% included debriefing by interprofessional teams.

Conclusions

Eighty accredited PT programs (70%) that responded to the survey use immersive simulation, and 45 programs (39%) use simulation for IPE. Most programs conduct simulations consistent with recognized best practice, including debriefing and Interprofessional Education Collaborative competency learning objectives for promoting interprofessional collaborative practice. We anticipate an increase in the use of immersive simulation for IPE as an educational strategy to comply with the revised Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education accreditation standards related to interprofessional collaborative practice that will become effective on January 1, 2018.

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