Use of reflective writing within interprofessional education: a mixed-methods analysis

J Interprof Care. 2020 May-Jun;34(3):307-314. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2019.1649644. Epub 2019 Sep 16.


Nurturing student's development of interprofessional collaboration is fundamental. Assessment-For-Learning can use reflection as one technique to support students' growth. Thus, we investigated using reflective-writing within an interprofessional education (IPE) course using an exploratory mixed-methods design. In 2015, student-nurses, student-pharmacists, and student-physicians participated in an IPE course and completed self-assessments of student learning objectives (SLOs). In 2016, new cohorts of student-nurses, student-pharmacists, and student-physicians participated in the course and completed their self-assessments of SLOs; however, student-nurses and student-pharmacists also reflectively-wrote. Quantitatively comparing SLOs from 2015 cohorts with 2016 cohorts, we found that the effect-sizes (magnitude of difference) for those who reflectively-wrote (student-nurses and student-pharmacists) grew more than historical controls, whereas the effect-sizes remained unchanged for a control group (student-physicians) who did not reflectively-write. Qualitatively, initial and final reflective-writings were explored using content analysis. Initial reflective-writings helped students create a baseline for their final reflective-writings. In final reflective-writings, most students discussed their growth in understanding roles/responsibilities and communication, though limited growth was discussed for teams/teamwork and values/ethics. Thus, initial and final reflective-writings appeared useful within this IPE course. Initial reflective-writing further enhanced students' self-assessed IPE improvement and recorded students' baseline perceptions for later review, while final reflective-writings documented students' self-actualized IPE development.

Keywords: Interprofessional education; didactic; mixed-methods; reflection; reflective writing.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Interprofessional Education*
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self-Assessment
  • Students, Health Occupations / psychology*
  • Writing*