The development of clinical reasoning and interprofessional behaviors

This article investigates the benefits of a student run free clinic (SRFC) as a service learning experience for students in medicine, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and physician assistant programs. The authors hypothesized that students who participate in an interprofessional service learning course and volunteer at a SRFC would exhibit significant increases in perceptions and attitudes for working in interprofessional health care teams and clinical reasoning skills compared to students who did not participate. Three assessments were administered to an experimental and control group of pre-clinical students from medical, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy and physician assistant programs prior to and following participation in an interprofessional service-learning course and volunteering at the SRFC. The tools were the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS), Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS) and the Self-Assessment of Clinical Reflection and Reasoning (SACRR). Students who completed the course had improvements in interprofessional perceptions and attitudes (p = 0.03) and perceptions of clinical reasoning skills when compared to the control group (p = 0.002). This study is novel as it examined students’ perceptions of interprofessional attitudes and clinical reasoning after participating in an interprofessional service-learning course and participation in a SRFC.