Attitudes of the first cohort of student groups trained together at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy towards dental interprofessional education

F. B. Colonio Salazar*, M. Andiappan, D. R. Radford, J. E. Gallagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study explored, and compared, the attitudes of student groups trained at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy (UPDA) in 2010/2011 towards dental interprofessional education (IPE). Methods: The study population consisted of fifth-year student dentists (n = 80) from King's College London Dental Institute, second- and third-year dental hygiene and therapy (n = 38) and first-year dental nursing (n = 14) students from UPDA. A 19-item, validated and dentally modified questionnaire, 'Readiness for Inter-Professional Learning Scale (RIPLS)', was administered. RIPLS contains three subscales: teamwork and collaboration, professional identity and roles and responsibilities. Mean (x-) and standard deviation (SD) of the scores were calculated, following reversal of negative items. All the analyses were carried out using SPSS version 20 and STATA version 11. Results: An overall response rate of 71% (n = 94) was achieved. In reference to teamwork and collaboration, all groups strongly indicated that IPE can contribute to learning teamwork skills (x- = 24.98, SD = 3.5) and improving relationships with team members (x- = 12.93, SD = 1.63); however, the scores did not differ between the groups (P = 0.09 and P = 0.16, respectively). Concerning professional identity, student dentists had significantly higher preference for a discipline-based approach (P = 0.002); were more likely to agree that 'it is not necessary for undergraduate dental and dental care professional students to learn together' (P = 0.01); and perceived that 'clinical problem-solving skills can only be learnt effectively with other students from their own discipline' (P = 0.02) than dental hygiene and therapy students. In relation to roles and responsibilities, participants demonstrated a strong sense of their own professional role. Student dentists reported that they had 'to gain more knowledge and skills' than dental hygiene and therapy (P = 0.01) and dental nursing (P = 0.01) students. Dental hygiene and therapy students were less likely than student dentists to agree that 'the role of dental nurses and hygienists was to mainly provide support for dentists' (P = 0.001). Conclusion: The findings suggest that IPE was perceived as beneficial in relation to teamwork; however, the study raises issues regarding professional identity and roles. Educators should consider differing perceptions of professional roles and identities when planning and delivering interprofessional programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 91-100
JournalEuropean Journal of Dental Education
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Dental roles
  • Dental team
  • Interprofessional
  • Professional identity


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