Using Standardized Patients to Teach Interprofessional Competencies to Dental Students
The aims of this study were to develop, implement, and evaluate a novel interprofessional standardized patient exercise (ISPE) with oral-systemic and interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) components. Dental students and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) students at one U.S. university participated in the simulation, which was primarily designed to test their teamwork skills. In spring 2014, DNP students worked in the dental clinics with dental students under the supervision of nursing and dental faculty members. To test the teamwork outcomes for both groups of students, a standardized patient (SP) scenario was designed to include multiple chronic medical diagnoses and an oral-systemic component. The exercise was filmed for later review. Outcomes measures included SP and student self-evaluations and faculty evaluation of student documentation. The primary outcome of interest from a dental standpoint was faculty evaluation of IPCP competencies derived from the Core Competencies of Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and were deemed to be observable by faculty when viewing the videotaped scenario. Eight teams of students participated with an SP trained in the scenario. Each team consisted of a DNP student, a fourth-year dental student, and a second-year dental student. All eligible students in the DNP class (n=20) and eight students from each dental class (approximately 110 each) participated. The results showed that the teams scored highest on the role/responsibilities subscale, indicating students were respectful of each other’s roles and expertise and effectively engaged each other to develop strategies to meet the patient’s needs. Scores on the three other subscales (values/ethics, interprofessional communication, and teams/teamwork) were also high. These findings appeared to support IPCP as a method to foster knowledge and respect for other roles and responsibilities, improve appreciation of teamwork, and encourage better communication among health care providers. The ISPE scenario provided an effective way to evaluate IPCP competencies.