A national study of paramedic and nursing students' readiness for interprofessional learning (IPL): results from nine universities

Brett Anthony Williams, Vanessa Kathleen Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The development of successful and functional interprofessional practice is best achieved through interprofessional learning (IPL). Given that many paramedic programmes still take an isolative uni-professional educational approach to their undergraduate courses, it is unclear on their preparedness for students' IPL. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the attitudes of undergraduate paramedic and nursing/paramedic students from nine Australian universities towards IPL over a two year period.

METHODS: Using a convenience sample of paramedic and nursing/paramedic students-attitudes towards IPL was measured using the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS) 5-point Likert-scale (1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree).

RESULTS: A total of 1264 students participated (n=303 in 2011 and n=961 in 2012) in this study, consistent with a 43% response rate. Surveyed students were predominantly first year n=506 (40.03%), female n=748 (59.2%) and undertaking single paramedic degrees n=948 (75.0%). Nursing/paramedic students demonstrated significantly lower Negative Professional Identity (M=6.26, p=0.004) and Roles and Responsibilities means (M=6.87, p<0.0001) and higher Positive Professional Identity means (M=15.68, p=0.011) compared with paramedic students.

CONCLUSIONS: The impact of nursing/paramedic education was shown to significantly enhance student attitudes towards interprofessionalism and the individual universities involved in this study generated students at varying stages of IPL preparedness. Students' year level appeared to influence IPL readiness, yet there are compelling paradoxical arguments for both earlier and later inclusion of IPL within curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e31-e37
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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