Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Douglas S. Gardenhire

Second Advisor

Ralph D. Zimmerman

Third Advisor

Robert B. Murray


ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: The interaction among various health disciplines in a health care team using the IPE approach has received recognition as one of the most effective methods of improving the delivery of healthcare services. The perception and attitude of students toward IPE is considered one of the barriers and challenges to implement interprofessional education. PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to evaluate students’ perceptions toward interprofessional education. METHOD: Data were collected through a descriptive survey using the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS). The survey consisted of 19 items, 5-point Likert scale and grouped into four sub-scales; teamwork and collaboration, negative professional identity, positive professional identity, and roles and responsibilities. The survey was administered to a convenience sample of undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in nursing, respiratory therapy, nutrition, physical therapy, and occupational therapy programs at an urban university. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: The number of participants was two hundred and fifty (n= 250) students from five programs. Physical therapy students accounted for 29.2%; followed by nursing students 28.8%; respiratory therapy students 26.4%; nutrition students 8.4%; and occupational therapy students 7.2%. Female participants accounted for 71.6% of all participants while male participants accounted for 28.4%. Over half of the participants are graduate degree students while 44.4% are undergraduate degree students. Almost one third of participants reported previous IPE experience and two third of participants reported no previous IPE experience. The study findings revealed that participants have positive perception and more agreement toward IPE (M = 81.10, ± 8.16 out of 95 points). The study showed that there is insignificant correlation between age and RIPLS total scores, negative professional identity, positive professional identity, and roles & responsibilities. There is only a significant negative correlation (rs = -0.176; P = 0.008) between students’ age and teamwork & collaboration subscale. Moreover, the study findings revealed that gender and previous IPE experience have no significant effect on students’ perception toward IPE. CONCLUSION: Results indicate that healthcare professional students value interprofessional education and have good perception toward it. Further studies with higher number of participants from various disciplines and level of education are recommended.