Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Nancy Fahrenwald

Second Advisor

Heidi Mennenga


attitudes, collaborative competencies, health care professionals, interprofessional collaboration, interprofessional education, mixed methods


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to assess health care professional’s interprofessional collaborative competencies and attitudes towards working in teams and to examine if differences exist between professionals who have completed formal interprofessional education (IPE) and those who have not. This study was guided by the Interprofessional Learning Continuum Model.
Background. IPE is the foundation of interprofessional collaboration. Research has shown that IPE is an effective strategy to prepare health care professionals for collaborative practice; however, preventable medical errors that result from poor collaboration continues to plague the health care system. Thus, more research is needed to better understand the relationship between formal IPE and health care professional’s collaborative competencies.
Methods. This study utilized a convergent parallel mixed methods design. The quantitative strand consisted of two validated questionnaires, the Attitudes Towards Interprofessional Health Care Teams Scale and the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Competency Self-Assessment. The qualitative strand consisted of six open-ended questions.
Results. Seventy-two health care professionals from an acute care hospital in the upper Midwest region of the United States completed the quantitative strand and 66 health care professionals completed both strands. The quantitative findings report a positive correlation between attitudes towards working in teams and interprofessional collaborative competencies (r = 0.508, N=72, p = 0.000), and a positive correlation between the type of IPE training professionals complete and their ability to interact interprofessionally (rs = 0.236, N=72, p = 0.046). The qualitative findings revealed essential features of collaboration, described in three categories: (1) Communication, which includes two subcategories, Effective Communication and Ineffective Communication, (2) Value, and (3) Roles.
Conclusion. This study indicates that understanding the relationship between attitudes and collaborative competencies and characteristics related to the type of IPE professionals complete is imperative prior to developing IPE trainings. These findings also suggest that IPE should focus on communication, strategies to promote role clarity, and opportunities to work together to build trust and mutual respect. This new knowledge will assist health care professionals, organizations, and higher education in developing specialized interventions and distinct educational experiences that cultivate the connection of IPE to effective collaborative practice.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Interprofessional education.
Medical personnel.
Medical personnel -- Attitudes.
Medical education.
Health care teams.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright