Introduction: The Rural Interprofessional Programme Emergency Retreat (RIPPER) is an educational programme collaboratively developed and evaluated by an interprofessional team from Schools within Faculty of Health Science (FHS), University of Tasmania (UTAS), Australia. The aims of RIPPER are to foster and facilitate positive and productive interprofessional learning experiences for undergraduate students in a rural setting; and to develop a firmly embedded and sustainable interprofessional healthcare module within the health science curriculum. This paper reports on the development of a reliable and valid survey tool to evaluate students’ understandings and experiences of this interprofessional learning programme.Materials and Methods: Twenty-nine students from the Schools of Nursing, Medicine and Pharmacy of the FHS, UTAS participated in the RIPPER programme which offers a number of interactive rural emergency healthcare scenarios using high- and low-fidelity simulation. To evaluate the programme a survey which consisted of 2 main components was developed and implemented before and after the programme. The first component was designed to gather students’ demographic information, their understanding of the interprofessional practice concepts, and their expectations of the RIPPER programme using open-ended questions. The second component consisted of a 5-point Likert scale for students to rank their level of agreement pre- and post- intervention with 12 statements about team working, programme evaluation and collaborative learning. Three processes were used to establish the validity and reliability of the survey. Content validity was assessed by academics and experts in health science education. Construct validity was assessed using exploratory factor analysis. The internal consistency and reliability of the survey was checked using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. Results: Factor analysis of the 12 statements identified 3 main factors including appreciation of professional roles and responsibilities, improved professional practice based on effective teamwork and the importance of students learning and working together for improved clinical practice. Reliability of the survey was established. The survey is able to evaluate students’ understandings and experiences of this interprofessional learning programme.
A shortage of healthcare professionals and resources in rural areas is well documented. These workforce shortages necessitate new models of healthcare in rural areas that focus on increased collaboration and communication to optimise patient care.
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