The effect of an interprofessional simulation-based education program on perceptions and stereotypes of nursing and medical students: A quasi-experimental study

Nurse Educ Today. 2017 Nov;58:32-37. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2017.07.013. Epub 2017 Aug 10.


Background: Interprofessional education is intended to train practitioners to collaboratively address challenges in healthcare delivery, and interprofessional simulation-based education (IPSE) provides realistic, contextual learning experiences in which roles, responsibilities, and professional identity can be learned, developed, and assessed. Reducing negative stereotypes within interprofessional relationships is a prime target for IPSE.

Objectives: We sought to understand whether perceptions of interprofessional education and provider stereotypes change among nursing and medical students after participating in IPSE. We also sought to determine whether changes differed based on the student's discipline.

Design: This was a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest study.

Setting: The study took place at a large mid-Atlantic public university with a comprehensive health science campus.

Participants: 147 senior Bachelors of Science in Nursing students and 163 fourth-year medical students participated.

Methods: Students were grouped into interprofessional teams for a two-week period and participated in three two-hour simulations focused on collaboration around acutely ill patients. At the beginning of the first session, they completed a pretest survey with demographic items and measures of their perceptions of interprofessional clinical education, stereotypes about doctors, and stereotypes about nurses. They completed a posttest with the same measures after the third session.

Results: 251 students completed both the pretest and posttest surveys. On all three measures, students showed an overall increase in scores after the IPSE experience. In comparing the change by student discipline, medical students showed little change from pretest to posttest on stereotypes of doctors, while nursing students had a significant increase in positive perceptions about doctors. No differences were noted between disciplines on changes in stereotypes of nurses.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that a short series of IPSE experiences resulted in improved perceptions of interprofessional practice and changes in stereotypical views of each profession even when the experience was not directly designed to address these issues. Differences observed between nursing and medical students should be explored further.

Keywords: Interprofessional education; Professional identity; Simulation-based education; Stereotypes.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / methods
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Patient Care Team / trends
  • Perception*
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Simulation Training*
  • Stereotyped Behavior
  • Students, Medical / psychology
  • Students, Nursing / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires