Aligning Education with Collaborative Practice by Using Student Observations to Teach Interprofessional Teamwork

J Allied Health. 2021 Summer;50(2):e79-e86.


As a component of a curriculum redesign to link foundational academic interprofessional education (IPE) to practice-ready skills and knowledge, students (n=582) at a southeastern academic health sciences center participated in required interprofessional course offerings that included observation of clinical or nonclinical units. Students enrolled in Behind the Scenes observed nonclinical teams across the enterprise, while students enrolled in TeamWorks became proficient observers of team behaviors using the TeamSTEPPS framework and utilized the TeamSTEPPS Team Performance Observation tool to collect observation data. Other students were enrolled in interprofessional courses consisting of theoretical content, group work, and didactic teaching strategies. Courses with observations earned significantly higher course evaluation scores than courses without, though limitations to such courses relate to course size and aspects of organization. Results demonstrate that utilizing observations can be a useful strategy for teaching teamwork at the foundational level, regardless of whether observations occur in a clinical or nonclinical setting.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Curriculum*
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Students