Background: Interdisciplinary teams are sometimes used in the provision of health care to populations who present with complicated needs, such as older adults experiencing dementia. Moreover, there is an international consensus that health care students should receive training in interdisciplinary care.
Methods: 157 health care students from Xavier University's College of Social Sciences, Health, and Education in Cincinnati, U.S.A. participated in a five-hour symposium on an interdisciplinary approach to treating older adults with dementia. The Attitudes Toward Health Care Teams Scale (ATHCTS; Heinemann et al., 1999) was used to assess student attitudes before and after the symposium.
Results: A paired-sample t-test was conducted to compare pre and post-test ATHCTS overall and subscale scores. There was a statistically significant increase in the overall pre-post ATHCTS scores and Quality of Care/Process Subscale scores. There was a significant decrease in the Physician Centrality Subscale scores.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that, after the symposium, participants reported more positive overall attitudes about health care teams, and about the quality of care provided by such teams and the teamwork to achieve good patient care. Participants also displayed a decrease in their beliefs about how essential physicians are as leaders of health care teams. These results affirm the use of a brief interdisciplinary educational approach in changing student attitudes about the use of health care teams. Students who develop more positive attitudes about working on an interdisciplinary health care team recognize the team's value and therefore may be more receptive to and effective in working as professional team members in the future.