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To evaluate the effectiveness of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) programme in eating disorders for mental health practitioners using a case-based learning approach.
A total of 25 mental health clinicians were asked to evaluate their IPE programme as part of training for the National Clinical Programme in Eating Disorders. They completed a Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS), a learner reaction questionnaire after each session and a final open evaluation at 4 months. Non-parametric statistical analysis was employed to analyse learner attitudes and reactions, and qualitative information was coded.
A total of 23 (92%) clinicians from five disciplines participated. Baseline attitudes towards IPE were positive on all RIPLS subscales, and those with prior IPE experience had most positive views as to its benefits for teamwork and patient care (p=0.036). Learner reactions on content, delivery, outcome and structure indicated that individual learning experience was strongly positively endorsed. Change in clinical practice behaviour was reported in terms of communication, clinical activity, outcome evaluation and confidence. Barriers included other demands on time, organisational support, not having enough patients or co-workers to practice skills, and knowledge differentials between learners.
IPE using a case based learning approach is an effective and acceptable means of developing specialist training across existing service, team and professional boundaries. It has potential for positive impact on knowledge, clinical behaviour and service delivery. Recommendations include the introduction of IPE group guidelines, wider circulation of learning points and content, and the use of self-competency ratings and reflective logs.