Evaluation of a strategy to improve undergraduate experience in obstetrics and gynaecology

National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education's picture
Submitted by National Center... on Mar 14, 2014 - 11:14am CDT


Poor interprofessional relationships in maternity units have resulted in a number of suboptimal outcomes: students are reluctant to pursue careers in obstetrics and gynaecology (O & G); trainees feel bullied, and poor communication between professionals results in avoidable adverse events. Interprofessional learning has been advocated to improve interprofessional relationships, but recent interventions have not been successful at undergraduate level. This study aimed to address this issue locally and then to disseminate our lessons, successes and challenges.


A strategy for interprofessional team-working was developed in a large maternity unit in the UK, with a variety of interprofessional interventions spanning the attachment and opportunities to participate in specific task or research teams. These interventions were evaluated before the strategy proceeded to large-scale implementation, with a validated attitudes questionnaire (Pollard) and a reaction survey.


Interprofessional relationships improved significantly (P < 0.05) after the O&G attachment. There was also some improvement of borderline significance (P = 0.05) in interprofessional teamwork and communication, as well as a non-significant improvement in perceptions of interprofessional interactions. Most (17/27, 63%) students stated that O&G was their primary career intention after the attachment. They did not witness any bullying or interprofessional difficulties.


Contrary to findings in other studies, in which initial idealism has been reported to have collapsed after working with students from other professions, we achieved a positive reaction to the O&G attachment, harnessing students' initial positivity towards interprofessional learning and cementing it into real optimism. Our promising initial results suggest that more work is needed to further increase the impact of such strategies and to determine whether the improvements in attitudes translate to improved clinical behaviour and thence patient outcomes.

PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19573190

Siassakos, Dimitrios
Timmons, Christina
Hogg, Florence
Epee, Mathias
Marshall, Lisa
Draycott, Timothy
Journal Citation: 
Medical Education. 43(7):669-73, 2009 Jul.