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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 178-182

Students' perceptions on interprofessional education: An exploration of attitudes and awareness among medical and dental students

Department of Public Health Dentistry, SIBAR Institute of Dental Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission16-Jul-2021
Date of Decision20-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance05-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication8-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Vasamsetti Divya Bhavani
Department of Public Health Dentistry, SIBAR Institute of Dental Sciences, Takkellapadu, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_132_21

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Aim and Objective: The aim of this study was to assess and evaluate medical and dental students' understanding and attitudes toward interprofessional education (IPE). Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire research was conducted among final year and interns of randomly selected medical and dental institutions in Guntur, a district in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. A 14-item self-administered questionnaire was employed for gathering information from 240 randomly selected participants (120 medical and 120 dental). For statistical analysis, a Chi-square test and logistic regression were undertaken, with a significance level of P < 0.05. Results: The research outcome showed that 49.7% of medical and 50.3% of dental students were not aware of IPE (P = 1.000). Among respondents, 45.3% of medical and 54.7% of dental participants agreed that patients would eventually benefit from health-care provision if students explored together (P = 0.001). Of the students replied, 43.5% of medical and 56.5% of dental students expressed that IPE in the curricula will increase work productivity (P = 0.000). Among respondents, 47.7% of medical and 52.3% of dental students agreed on IPE as an effective communication tool with the patients (P = 0.060). In terms of interest in acquiring clinical skills besides other health-care disciplines, a statistically significant difference between medical and dental students (P = 0.013) was observed. Conclusion: The study revealed that IPE was appreciated by both medicine and dentistry students, and that incorporating IPE into their curricula would enhance patient and health-care satisfaction.

Keywords: Attitudes, awareness, health-care personnel, interprofessional education

How to cite this article:
Bhavani VD, Talluri D, Pachava S. Students' perceptions on interprofessional education: An exploration of attitudes and awareness among medical and dental students. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2022;20:178-82

How to cite this URL:
Bhavani VD, Talluri D, Pachava S. Students' perceptions on interprofessional education: An exploration of attitudes and awareness among medical and dental students. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 3];20:178-82. Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2022/20/2/178/346878

  Introduction Top

Concerns and issues that people face nowadays in health care services are often complex. As a result, the concept of bettering one's health has various facets. It is exceedingly impossible for a single wellness program provider of any profession to deliver fully extensive care that tackles most of the concerns necessary to enhance a client's well-being. An interdisciplinary strategy for therapy allows professionals from many professions to exchange their solitary insights in order to reach a unified goal improving a patient's current health state.[1]

The World Health Organization's (WHO) 2010 structure on interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice lays out explicit IPE strategic recommendations for implementing interprofessional cooperation at the educational, curricular, administration, and policy levels, resulting in a “practice-ready health workforce.” According to the WHO Framing, IPE occurs when “students from two or more professions learn about, learn from, and work with each other to allow successful cooperation and enhance health assessments,” and IPC occurs when “health workers from disparate specialist backgrounds work with patients, households, caregivers, and community members to achieve the greatest possible levels of service.”[2],[3],[4]

Educators have made different strides in implementing IPE, ranging from sharing fundamental scientific lectures to the creation of collaborating patients or community-based health activities in the clinical setting of students.[5],[6]

Interprofessional collaborative practice (IPC) is generally seen as a fundamental change in outlook required in medical care to improve patient and populace well-being results, accomplish diminished medical care expenses, and address worldwide workforce challenges.

In condign to accommodate various facets of a patient's rehab, caregivers must accumulate data and collaborate effectively. The notion of IPE is one option for improving this critical communication and collaboration among health workers.

As a result, the investigation was directed toward assessing medical and dental students' perceptions of IPE.

  Materials and Methods Top

A cross-sectional questionnaire research was performed between the final year and the interns of medical and dental colleges of randomly selected colleges in the district of Guntur located in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. A standardized, closed-ended, self-administered questionnaire comprising 14 items was used to collect the responses. The questionnaire was acclimatized from a previously published study[7] and tailored to the current research population with the approval of the respective author received. A pilot research was undertaken with 20 students from each medical and dental college to determine the feasibility and validity of the study. The content validity ratio in the target population was assessed after an assessment of face validity, and the value was 0.78. The sample size was computed using the equation Z2PQ/d2 where Z = standard normal deviate set at 1.96 at 95% confidence level, P = proportion of the study population based on a pilot study who expressed that IPE in the curriculum will increase working efficiency (P = 90.7%), q = 1 − p, and d = degree of accuracy desired at 0.05. The research enrolled 240 people randomly chosen out of an absolute populace of 450. In the paper-and-pen process, the questionnaire was filled in. First, the investigator explained what IPE is to all participants, regardless of their prior understanding of IPE. The majority of the participants were uninformed of IPE, and after 3 weeks, the replies were requested to complete the form in order to obtain students' perspectives on IPE. As per their insight, the appropriate responses were marked and each of the 14 questions was yes or no sort. The local Institutional Review Board of Ethics granted ethical approval, and the protocol number is 35/IRB/SIBAR/2020. The respective administrative office granted permission and assigned signatures. Following an explanation of the study's purpose, all participants provided informed consent.

Inclusion criteria

The research included students who were available on the day of investigation and gave informed consent.

Exclusion criteria

The research excluded individuals who were reluctant to participate.

Statistical analysis

Collected data were analyzed with SPSS version 25.0 (SPSS Inc., South Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL, USA) that involved descriptive statistics, the Chi-square test, and logistic regression. P < 0.05 was regarded as statistically significant.

  Results Top

[Table 1] depicts the gender and designation distribution of study subjects. Females (n = 211) in both the medical and dental fields made up the majority of this group.
Table 1: The number and percentage of participants based on their gender and academic level

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The study includes a total of 240 students (120 medical and 120 dental). The findings of this study demonstrated that 49.7% of medical and 50.3% of dental students were not aware of IPE (P = 1.000). Among respondents, 49.1% of medical and 50.9% of dental participants expressed that IPE was pertinent in the curriculum (P = 0.772). Among respondents, 47.7% of medical and 52.3% of dental students agreed on IPE as an effective tool in communication with the patients (P = 0.060). There was a substantially significant difference (P = 0.013) between medical and dental students with respect to engrossment in practicing clinical skills alongside other health-care disciplines [Table 2] and [Figure 1].
Table 2: A comparison of study years across disciplines

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Figure 1: Bar chart depicting awareness and attitudes among medical and dental students

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Logistic regression analysis

The analysis revealed that dental students had a greater perception and attitude toward IPE than medical students. Between the two groups, the smallest odds ratio was for the IPE in the curricula to achieve better working efficiency during clinical practice and professional career (odds ratio = 0.225), and the highest odds ratio was for students' readiness to acquire clinical skills alongside other health-care students (odds ratio = 1.993). This means that the interest in learning clinical skills was two times higher in dental students than in medical students [Table 3].
Table 3: Results of logistic regression analysis

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  Discussion Top

This study promotes awareness of IPE between individuals of different disciplines, such as medical and dental, throughout their 4th-year and internship training.

Many positive outcomes for professionals have been reported as a result of clinical IPE, including the fact that it not only promotes intra-professional communication, but also it promotes conversations between physicians of different professions by increasing cooperation and coordination with one another.[8]

Nørgaard et al.[9] unearthed that IPE can increase contact between various professions as well as between professionals and patients. According to their findings, pretraining caregivers were barely sophisticated in communicating between other practitioners and patients. Improvements in interactions were apparent in interprofessional communication rather than in intra-professional communication, and conversation is considerably stronger following IPE training and more conspicuous both apparently and after 6 months of training.[6] The far more popular obstacle to IPE is an overburdened curriculum. A contemporary study by Lumague et al.[10] indicates that only limited structured interprofessional practices have been carried out in the health-care student curriculum of the seven institutes. Investigators conclude that IPE training among professionals created superior conviction of health care that is healthy, more efficient, and economical. There must be a dedication from both the administration and the faculties to good IPE training.[11]

Clinicians have reported increased personal and professional confidence, as well as increased job satisfaction, as a result of IPE.[12] Villena et al.[13] established an integrated intervention program to reduce the prevalence and severity of early childhood caries (ECC) in children through an interprofessional approach. Collaboration with other health practitioners in health centers was shown to be effective in this study.

In the present research, it was found that the majority of medical (49.7%) and dental (50.3%) students were unaware of IPE, and the majority of students felt IPE was essential in the curriculum. On the other hand, 12.5% of medical students and 13.8% of dental students were unaware of IPE in the Renuka and Gheena report.[7]

According to the research finding published by Fallatah et al.,[14] only 11.5% understood the definition of IPE and 88.6% did not know what IPE was among the 107 participants, but the majority of students felt IPE was important to the curriculum, which is close to the result of current research.

Most students were not initially aware of IPE. 75.3% of students were aware of IPE and its prerequisite in an absolute of 240 populace from medical and dental only after explaining the relevance of IPE. According to Fallatah et al.[14] and Renuka et al.[7] reports, 24.8% and 77.9% totally concur that patients would benefit if scholars from various health-care professionals learn together. According to this study, 72.6% indicated that patients would benefit from co-ordinated treatment and 27.4% felt that there is no perk for the patients if the professionals work conjunctively. According to Fallatah and Renuka et al., 73.4% of students and 75.8% of students appreciated the fortuity to engage in IPE training and 15.3% and 24.2% were not riveted. In the present research, 73% welcomed the opportunity to learn with other practitioners and 27% were not interested. According to Fallatah et al. and Renuka et al., 93.3% and 87.5% of students believe that teamwork expertise is important for all health-care students. In this report, only 73% of students thought that teamwork would pay for good and successful patient care.

Dental students were more apprehensive that IPE in the curricula will improve working efficiency during clinical practice and professional career because certain internal diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, will cause an increasing number of dental diseases, such as periodontal disease, necessitating treatment and knowledge of these diseases, and they are more “hands-on” and have more patient contact earlier in their education than medical students. This knowledge may have sparked an interest in IPE as well as a sense of its significance. This is comparable to the work of Sibyl et al.[15] While medical students have busy academic timetables, it was difficult to discover sufficient hours to engage in IPE initiatives such as group presentation and group sessions and most students would feel reluctant to invest more time on comparable IPE projects.

According to the WHO, multidisciplinary and collaborative treatment can enhance patient and population results.[3] Although the Dental and Medical Council of India has stated that students should understand the ability to recognize physical and mental illness, deal with emergencies, communicate effectively with patients, and interact with various professional colleges, this is not explicitly stated in the curriculum. An educational curriculum should emphasize the importance of teamwork among health-care personnel for improved patient care.[16],[17]

Limitation of the research

The research constraint involves a limited group of students from a medical and dental college that is not fully inclusive of Indian medical and dental students. Studies requiring the use of questionnaires include bias. Further studies are important to explore the effectiveness of IPE at various levels.

  Conclusion Top

The investigation showed that most of the participants were oblivious to IPE, appreciated IPE, and accepted that including IPE in their educational program could increase overall patient safety and health-care provider satisfaction. More research on IPE at the university level is required to foster better successful learning techniques and investigate the implications of IPE on quality of care. Expanded proof of this supremacy may invigorate the execution of IPE at the academic level.

Health leaders and policymakers should be fully cognizant that interprofessional education and collaborative practice are a means to improve population access to care and health outcomes.


We would like to acknowledge everyone who contributed to the study for their time and effort. We are grateful to the principal and management of medical and dental colleges for allowing us to conduct the research in their proper destinations.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Parsell G, Bligh J. Interprofessional learning. Postgrad Med J 1998;74:89-95.  Back to cited text no. 1
Institute of Medicine. Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality. Washington, DC: National Academic Press; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 2
WHO. Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2010.  Back to cited text no. 3
Reeves S. Why we need professional education to improve the delivery of safe and effective care. Interface 2016;20:185-96.  Back to cited text no. 4
Anders PL, Scherer YK, Hatton M, Antonson D, Austin-Ketch T, Campbell-Heider N. Using standardized patients to teach interprofessional competencies to dental students. J Dent Educ 2016;80:65-72.  Back to cited text no. 5
Owen J, Brasher T, Peterson C, Blackhall L, Erickson J. Collaborative care best practices: A new educational paradigm for developing interprofessional educational (IPE) experiences. J Interprof Care 2012;26:153-5.  Back to cited text no. 6
Renuka S, Gheena S. A questionnaire based study on awareness of students in internship training or final year across 3 disciplines regarding inter-professional education – A descriptive cross sectional study. J Health Educ Res Dev 2016;4:1-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Geissler C, Freeth D, Hammick M, Koppel I, Reeves S, Barr H. A critical review of evaluations of interprofessional education. Acad Health Sci Pract Netw 2002;2.  Back to cited text no. 8
Nørgaard B, Ammentorp J, Kofoed PE, Kyvik KO. Training improves inter-collegial communication. Clin Teach 2012;9:173-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
Lumague M, Morgan A, Mak D, Hanna M, Kwong J, Cameron C, et al. Interprofessional education: The student perspective. J Interprof Care 2006;20:246-53.  Back to cited text no. 10
Rafter ME, Pesun IJ, Herren M, Linfante JC, Mina M, Wu CD, et al. A preliminary survey of interprofessional education. J Dent Educ 2006;70:417-27.  Back to cited text no. 11
Sinclair L. Interprofessional Education (IPE): New Knowledge in Need of Translation? Canadian Physiotherapy Association: Research News and Views Newsletter; 2004. p. 11-3.  Back to cited text no. 12
Villena RS, Pesaressi E, Frencken JE. Reducing carious lesions during the first 4 years of life: An interprofessional approach. J Am Dent Assoc 2019;150:1004-14.  Back to cited text no. 13
Fallatah HI, Jabbad R, Fallatah HK. Inter professional education as a need: The perception of medical, nursing students and graduates of medical college at King Abdulaziz University. Sci Res 2015;6:248-54.  Back to cited text no. 14
Sibyl S, Bennadi D, Kshetrimayum N, Reddy C. Readiness for interprofessional learning among dental undergraduate students: An institutional study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2018;16:328-32.  Back to cited text no. 15
  [Full text]  
Dental Council of India Revised BDS Regulations; 2007. Available from: https://dciindia.gov.in/. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 05].  Back to cited text no. 16
Medical Council of India Graduate Medical Education Regulations; 1997. Available from: https://www.nmc.org.in/ActivitiWebClient/rulesnregulations/graduateMedicalEducationRegulations1997. [Last accessed on 2021 Jul 05].  Back to cited text no. 17


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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