Knowledge and attitudes of allied health professional students regarding the stroke rehabilitation team and the role of the Speech and Language Therapist

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


One of the major barriers to effective team working among healthcare professionals is a lack of knowledge of each other's roles. The importance of understanding Irish healthcare students' attitudes towards team working and each other's roles led to the development of this study.


The aims were to investigate allied health professional students' perceptions and experiences of the stroke rehabilitation team and the role of the Speech and Language Therapist (SLT).


A survey first developed by Felsher and Ross (1994) and further developed by Insalaco et al. (2007) was adapted to the Irish healthcare setting. The survey was administered to final-year Occupational Therapy (n = 23), Speech and Language Therapy (21) students and Physiotherapy (20) students (64 in total) (a 98.5% response rate).


Results indicate that students had a good understanding of teamwork in the healthcare setting and the possible benefits and challenges it presents. Students had a strong appreciation for interprofessional collaboration, with the majority (79%) choosing shared leadership as their preferred option for the stroke rehabilitation team. Further to this, the team approaches that students felt were most appropriate for the stroke rehabilitation setting were the more collaborative approaches of interdisciplinary (43.5%) and transdisciplinary (37.1%). The students had clear perceptions of the SLT's role in aphasia, dysphagia, dysarthria, apraxia and auditory agnosia, but were less knowledgeable of the SLT's role in the acquired disorders of alexia and agraphia (p < 0.05). More than half of all students perceived that the SLT is involved in the treatment of hemispatial neglect (55.5%), depression (71.5%) and visual agnosia (59.4%).


The results provide valuable information for further developments in interprofessional education at an undergraduate level. Further opportunities should be provided to students to collaborate with each other, particularly in their final year of training as, by then, students have a well-established knowledge of their own roles and would be more capable of sharing this role with other professions. Through this collaboration students would also gain valuable insight into the importance of teamwork, which they could take with them into their professional careers.

PubMed URL:

Byrne, Aine
Pettigrew, Catharine M
Journal Citation: 
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. 45(4):510-21, 2010 Jul-Aug.