Student participation in the development of interprofessional education courses: Perceptions and experiences of faculty members and the students

Introduction: Student participation has shown positive effects on the curriculum development process for a single health profession. This qualitative study explores faculty members’ and students’ perceptions and experiences regarding student participation in interprofessional course development.

Methods: Interprofessional courses were developed and implemented by interprofessional teams of faculty members and students. Two focus group discussions were carried out: one with faculty members and one with students.

Results: Students contributed to both the process and the results of interprofessional course development in a complementary manner. Student participation was facilitated via motivation for and through work on interprofessional education, a balance between clarity on tasks and students’ autonomy, and a low-hierarchy team atmosphere. Students developed professionally, and faculty members saw them as future ambassadors for interprofessional collaboration.

Conclusions: This study provides multiple qualitative evidence for a positive, complementary role of student participation in interprofessional course development. A number of factors were identified that should be nurtured to facilitate this effect. Our findings may stimulate and guide other schools to actively involve students in the development of interprofessional education.