Interprofessional Education between Medical and Pharmacy Students
: A Study of What and How Pre-registration Medical and Pharmacy Students Learn With, From and About Each Other in a Classroom Based Interprofessional Environment

  • Kathryn Ann Steven

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Medicine


Patient harm through use of medicines remains a worldwide problem. Studies suggest that developing interprofessional education (IPE) for physicians and pharmacists in pre-registration training may improve medication safety and patient care. However, the evidence concerning IPE for these groups is lacking. This study investigates what and how pre-registration medical and pharmacy students learn in classroom based IPE and explores factors affecting this learning.

The study consists of three components. The literature review examines evidence for IPE between medical and pharmacy students, using a realist approach to explore contexts, mechanisms (learning processes), and outcomes of IPE. To address ‘what’ IPE for these students should focus on, a mapping of the regulatory documents detailing outcomes for UK graduates of medicine and pharmacy was undertaken. Two interventions investigated what and how medical and pharmacy students learn through IPE in reality, again using a realist informed approach. The use of realist methodology is an emergent approach in IPE and increasingly recognised as important in the field.

This study makes a significant contribution to the discourse around ‘what’ students learn in IPE by producing for the first time a published curriculum mapping, based on regulatory documents for UK healthcare profession students. The intervention studies demonstrate the use of this mapping. The novel application of a realist informed model, ‘the ripple effect’, advances the field of IPE by proposing that reactions, for example enjoyment, may be crucial in determining positive engagement with future IPE. Student learning is identified as a transformative process, fostered by social interaction and optimised by collaboratively working on joint tasks and through effective facilitation. Various contexts influence the learning process and this study is original in its application of intergroup anxiety theory to explore how these factors may affect learning processes in IPE between medical and pharmacy students.
Date of Award2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorStella Howden (Supervisor), Gary Mires (Supervisor), Veronica O'Carroll (Supervisor) & Alison Strath (Supervisor)


  • Interprofessional Education

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