Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Jennifer Snow, Ph.D.


Pamela Gehrke, Ed.D., R.N.


Richard Osguthorpe, Ph.D.


Keith W. Thiede, Ph.D.


Healthcare reform and the complexities of the healthcare system and chronic disease conditions call for collaborative interdisciplinary team-based care. To enhance these collaborative efforts, universities and facilities are promoting the need for students and professionals to learn and work with others from different healthcare disciplines in an interprofessional manner. Four graduates of undergraduate programs in health sciences, nursing, radiologic sciences, and respiratory care sat for multi-series interviews using a phenomenological approach to share their experiences in interprofessional education and collaborative practice. Participant responses were grouped into themes around the development of a professional identity through personal, educational, and professional healthcare experiences; their role within the larger healthcare team and the dynamics of those relationships; and their focus on the patient at the center of care. The results indicate a need for interprofessional education at the undergraduate level in order to set an expectation of collaboration and provide opportunities for students to practice interpersonal skills with a variety of personalities through applied learning experiences that continue into the work setting through professional development. These participants recognized the need for many of the identified interprofessional collaborative practice competencies, particularly those concerning roles and responsibilities, communication, and teams and teamwork, and saw the benefit of collaboration on patient outcomes. This study also highlights the need for programs and institutions to consider the inclusion and role of non-clinical disciplines within the healthcare team. Sharing these experiences may contribute to interprofessional education and collaborative practice initiatives and future research efforts, providing insight into the graduate perspective.