Growing data support interprofessional teams as an important part of medical education. This study describes attitudes, barriers, and practices regarding interprofessional education (IPE) in internal medicine (IM) clerkships in the United States and Canada.
In 2009, a section on IPE was included on the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine annual survey. This section contained 23 multiple-choice questions exploring both core and subinternship experiences. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Rasch analysis.
Sixty-nine of 107 institutional members responded to the survey (64% response rate). Approximately 68% of responding clerkship directors believed that IPE is important to the practice of IM. However, only 57% believed that it should become a part of the undergraduate clinical curriculum. The three most significant barriers to IPE in the IM clerkship were scheduling alignment, time in the existing curriculum, and resources in time and money. Although more than half of respondents felt IPE should be included in the clinical curriculum, 81% indicated that there was no formal curriculum on IPE in their core IM clerkship, and 84% indicated that there was no formal curriculum during IM subinternship rotations at their institution.
There is limited penetration of IPE into one of the foundational clinical training episodes for medical students in Liaison Committee for Medical Education-accredited schools. This may be related to misperceptions of the relative value of these experiences and limitations of curricular time. Learning in and from successful models of interprofessional teams in clinical practice may help overcome these barriers.