Early interprofessional interactions: does student age matter?
In this mixed-method evaluation we report on student responses to an introductory interprofessional learning event, accessed by ten professions within six months of commencing their chosen professional curricula. Of 898 students, 754 (84%) completed pre and post course questionnaires, and 81 took part in uni-professional focus groups. Student responses were compared with those of 14 facilitators. Younger students entering straight from school achieved more learning outcomes and were more positive about the learning than older students (e.g., undergraduate medics, range p = 0.001-0.011; graduate medics, range p = 0.001-0.819). Mature entrants valued interprofessional education, but preferred to interact with students of a similar age demanding a more challenging and relevant set of learning resources, sensitive to their prior life experience. Positive and negative stereotyping was differently constructed between younger and older students. The views of facilitators endorsed the lack of engagement of mature learners compared to their younger counterparts. The study highlights the need to consider age when bringing together large numbers of different professions for their first taste of interprofessional education.
PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18569413