Interprofessionalism in Primary Healthcare Setting: Qatar University Public Health Students’ Perspectives.
There is a growing need for interprofessional education (IPE) in public health programs, as healthcare teams become more diverse and multi-disciplinary. The Bachelor of Science in Public Health at Qatar University in Doha, Qatar, is the only program of its kind in the country. The program has two concentrations: health education and health management. In both program concentrations, students are required to attend IPE training before the start of their experiential learning courses. In experiential learning, students are placed in a variety of community-based and health care settings including, but not limited to, primary healthcare clinics. This approach aligns with multiple recommendations from the field suggesting that education in interprofessional collaboration should occur early in the experiential learning program and specifically in undergraduate education when positive attitudes towards interprofessionalism can be shaped. The purpose of this study is to understand how public health students in Qatar perceive interprofessional care during their field experience and to highlight the the success and challenges of that experience. Participants are students (N=36) who have their experiential learning placement at three primary health care centers in Doha, Qatar. Thematic analysis was conducted on students’ weekly reports reflecting on their experience and on interprofessional care. Analysis of students’ reflection reports revealed that they observed interprofessionalism in communication among health care providers, teamwork and collaboration for the benefit of the patient and patient flow. Health education students understood where they fit in the team and their own role in interprofessional care: patient assessment, patient education and behavior change, health promotion, patient empowerment in self-management, and follow up and evaluation. Health management students also reflected on their role in managing patient and work flow, managing the data system, conducting research, and managing the communication process among professionals. However, students from both concentrations were challenged by professionals and patients not recognizing their role as public health specialists. They felt that patients and the culture of the health care system was not familiar with their crucial role and potential contributions to interprofessional care in the primary healthcare setting. Students recommended conducting interprofessional education and training sessions for health care providers and raising awareness about the public health field in general. The findings address gaps in the literature regarding public health specialists’ role in primary health care settings. Additionally, it will help support planning for interprofessional education training to enhance collaboration development among health care providers including public health specialists.
- Public Health [127 items ]