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Open Access Research article

Interprofessional simulated learning: short-term associations between simulation and interprofessional collaboration

Chris Kenaszchuk1*, Kathleen MacMillan2, Mary van Soeren3 and Scott Reeves1456

Author affiliations

1 Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8, Canada

2 School of Health Sciences, Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Toronto, Canada

3 Canadian Health Care Innovations, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

4 Centre for Faculty Development, Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, Toronto, Canada

5 Wilson Centre for Research in Education, University of Toronto, Canada

6 Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2011, 9:29  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-29

Published: 28 March 2011



Health professions education programs use simulation for teaching and maintaining clinical procedural skills. Simulated learning activities are also becoming useful methods of instruction for interprofessional education. The simulation environment for interprofessional training allows participants to explore collaborative ways of improving communicative aspects of clinical care. Simulation has shown communication improvement within and between health care professions, but the impacts of teamwork simulation on perceptions of others' interprofessional practices and one's own attitudes toward teamwork are largely unknown.


A single-arm intervention study tested the association between simulated team practice and measures of interprofessional collaboration, nurse-physician relationships, and attitudes toward health care teams. Participants were 154 post-licensure nurses, allied health professionals, and physicians. Self- and proxy-report survey measurements were taken before simulation training and two and six weeks after.


Multilevel modeling revealed little change over the study period. Variation in interprofessional collaboration and attitudes was largely attributable to between-person characteristics. A constructed categorical variable indexing 'leadership capacity' found that participants with highest and lowest values were more likely to endorse shared team leadership over physician centrality.


Results from this study indicate that focusing interprofessional simulation education on shared leadership may provide the most leverage to improve interprofessional care.