Background Interprofessional education (IPE) has been used more frequently in the last thirty years to encourage collaborative teamwork within healthcare.
Objectives The aims of this study were primarily to assess the impact of multimedia instruction on musculoskeletal clinical examination (MCE) skill acquisition. Secondly, to evaluate students' perceptions of the value of IPE and multi disciplinary team (MDT) work.
Method A survey was administered to a purposively sampled group of postgraduate students, comprising medical practitioners and physiotherapists (n=26). The sample was diverse in age, speciality, and MDT and IPE experience. The intervention was four sports injury assessment DVDs made by expert clinicians modelling high level interprofessional team working, made specifically for use in the study. Postintervention semi-structured interviews, conducted with a sample from the survey group (n=10) until data saturation occurred, were audio-recorded and analysed by thematic content analysis.
Results An 85% survey response rate was obtained. 46% of the group described their competence in MCE as ‘developing skills’ and 50% described having ‘some experience’. Attitudes towards IPE and MDT work were highly positive; overriding beliefs were that they benefited practice by affording a range of learning opportunities. Interview analysis revealed five main themes: a real time approach with expert instruction; multiple perspectives; and diversity within the cohort; changing behaviour by improving MCE technique and enhancing interactive skills. Overriding beliefs were that observing and learning from different experts' skilful examination under real time conditions was perceived as largely beneficial across the whole group.
Conclusion This study provides evidence that interprofessional learning among postgraduate students can result in skill development – such as advanced assessments skills. Furthermore, the DVDs improved students' appreciation of IPE, healthcare teamwork, and awareness of other disciplines. The use of DVD learning tools to teach and assist with the delivery of MCE and IPE warrants further investigation.