Category: Professional Posters
Purpose: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), interprofessional education (IPE) “occurs when two or more professions learn with, about, from each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes." Accreditation bodies require the integration of IPE into many health profession programs. Medical mission trips serve as opportunities to involve various health professions and enhance IPE competencies. In this study, optometry and pharmacy students participated in a medical mission, providing eye exams and health screenings to underserved patients. The objective was to identify the role of an international medical mission trip (intervention) on students’ perceptions of interprofessional collaboration.
Methods: As part of an extra-curricular activity sponsored by the Lion’s Club International, six optometry and two pharmacy students (n equals 8) participated in an eight-day medical mission trip to the rural, mountainous regions of Chihuahua, Mexico. Under the supervision of licensed clinicians, the trip consisted of four clinic days in which optometry students conducted eye exams and dispensed eyeglasses, while pharmacy students performed health screenings for hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia—disease states that are all associated with increased risks for ocular disorders. In addition, the optometry and pharmacy students rotated through each others’ respective services. Upon arrival and at the conclusion of the medical mission trip, the twenty-question Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Survey (ICCAS) was administered to students. Although the published ICCAS should be completed at one point of time, the authors decided to give the survey before and after the medical mission (two points of time). The ICCAS is composed of seven-point Likert scale questions, with responses ranging from strongly agree (7 points) to strongly disagree (1 point) and “not applicable.” The survey assesses competencies in the following domains: communication, collaboration, roles and responsibilities, patient and family engagement, conflict management and resolution, and team management. The pre- and post-intervention surveys were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U tests.
Results: Over 1,800 patients received eye exams and health screenings during the medical mission. All eight students completed the pre- and post-intervention surveys. The data analysis of the pre- and post-intervention ICCAS indicates a positive trend toward an enhancement of competency for all domains. Specifically, statistical significance was reached in the following areas: accountability for contributions in the interprofessional team (z equals -2.87, P equals 0.004), understanding the abilities and contributions of the interprofessional team members (z equals -2.19, P equals 0.03), inclusion of family and patient in decision-making (z equals -2.06, P equals 0.04), and negotiation of responsibilities in overlapping scope of practices (z equals -2.17, P equals 0.03).
Conclusion: This medical mission trip provided a meaningful opportunity to connect two seemingly unrelated professions: optometry and pharmacy. At the conclusion of the medical mission, students reported an enhancement of interprofessional collaboration skills. To validate this study’s findings, the ICCAS will be used to evaluate students’ perceptions of interprofessional collaboration in future medical mission trips.