BACKGROUND: Interprofessional collaborative practice is essential for meeting patients' needs and improving their health outcomes; thus, the effectiveness of interprofessional education (IPE) should be clearly identified. There is insufficient evidence in the literature to determine the outcomes of IPE compared to traditional single-profession education (SPE). This study aimed to compare the outcomes of IPE and SPE during a simulation training course. METHODS: The study design was a mixed-methods, incorporated cross-over design and a qualitative survey. A total of 54 students including 18 medical students and 36 nursing students were recruited from March to April 2019. The 4-week simulation course was designed based on Kolb's experimental learning theory and Bandura's social learning theory. Participants were evenly divided into group 1 (received IPE-learning followed by SPE-learning), and group 2 (received SPE-learning followed by IPE-learning). Students' medical task performance, team behavior performance, teamwork attitude, and patient safety attitude were collected at pretest, mid-test, and posttest. Descriptive statistics and repeated measures analysis of variance were used. End-of-study qualitative feedback was collected, and content analysis was performed. RESULTS: Both groups demonstrated moderate-to-large within-group improvements for multiple learning outcomes at mid-test. Group 1 students' medical task performance (F = 97.25; P < 0.001) and team behavior performance (F = 31.17; P < 0.001) improved significantly. Group 2 students' medical task performance (F = 77.77; P < 0.001), team behavior performance (F = 40.14; P < 0.001), and patient safety attitude (F = 6.82; P < 0.01) improved significantly. Outcome differences between groups were nonsignificant. Qualitative themes identified included: personal factor, professional factor, interprofessional relationship, and learning. The IPE program provided students with exposure to other professions and revealed differences in expertise and responsibilities. CONCLUSION: IPE-simulation and SPE-simulation were effective interventions that enabled medical and nursing students to develop critical medical management and team behavior performance. IPE-simulation provided more opportunities for improving competencies in interprofessional collaborative practice. In circumstances with limited teaching resources, SPE-simulation can be an acceptable alternative to IPE-simulation.
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