Student perspectives on patient educators as facilitators of interprofessional education

Med Teach. 2011;33(10):851-3. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2010.530703.


Background: There has been increasing interest in the active involvement of patients in the education of health professionals. Few have examined the potential role of patient educators in the facilitation of interprofessional education (IPE).

Aim: This qualitative program evaluation examined students' perceptions of their learning in a patient-facilitated IPE event.

Methods: One hundred and forty two students from physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medicine, and nursing participated in a 2.5-h session in which they interviewed patient educators living with a variety of chronic illnesses about their experiences. Patient educators participated in a 3-h training session prior to the event.

Results: Content analyses of six focus group transcripts (n = 27) and critical incident questionnaires (n = 138) revealed that students felt this was a positive experience, recognized the importance of advocating for their professional role, and valued the interprofessional learning. Students also valued participation from a variety of health professions and felt that IPE should be mandatory for all.

Conclusion: Results suggest that trained patient educators can effectively facilitate interprofessional interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Learning*
  • Occupational Therapy / education
  • Occupational Therapy / psychology
  • Ontario
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / education
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Perception*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*