Incorporating Interprofessional Simulations in Dietetics Education
George, Katie Elizabeth
University of Kansas
Dietetics & Nutrition
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Introduction: Simulations are commonly used in medical and nursing education, but little research has been done into the outcomes of including simulations in curriculums for dietetics students. Furthermore, to our knowledge, no research has been published regarding the outcomes of multiple-patient interprofessional simulations in dietetics education. Methods: In this study, a registered dietitian modified existing simulated patient cases used in the KUMC School of Nursing to include nutrition components. Dietetics students (n=16) and senior nursing students (n=42) participated in simulations together. Pre-test and post-tests were developed to measure dietetics students' knowledge of roles of healthcare professionals and confidence in communicating. Differences between tests were analyzed using the Wilcoxan Rank Sum test. The Kruskall-Wallis test was used to analyze whether students who had completed clinical experiences had significantly different responses compared to students who were beginning clinical experiences. Statistical significance was set at pResults: For questions that had a correct and incorrect answer, the mean post-test score was higher (64.06%) than the mean pre-test score (60.94%) for dietetics students, however this difference was not statistically significant. No difference was seen between students with regard to clinical experience. 87.5% of students felt the simulation helped them learn roles of other healthcare professionals, while 93.8% of students felt the simulation enhanced their appreciation for interprofessional teamwork. 93.8% of students indicated this activity enhanced their interprofessional communication skills. The mean post-test score was lower (67.03%) than the mean pre-test score (72.53%) for the nursing students. Qualitative analysis of students' responses to open-ended questions identified several key themes. Mean accuracy of the dietetics students' assessment notes was 73%. Conclusion: Multi-patient interprofessional simulations are an effective way to expose dietetics students to other health professionals, but additional modifications to the existing cases are needed in order to prompt more interprofessional dialogue within the simulation.
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