Volume 50, Issue 6 p. 1141-1148

Attitudes Toward Working on Interdisciplinary Healthcare Teams: A Comparison by Discipline

Rosanne M. Leipzig MD, PhD

Rosanne M. Leipzig MD, PhD

Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York;

Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Bronx VA Medical Center, Bronx, New York;

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Kathryn Hyer DrPA, MPP

Kathryn Hyer DrPA, MPP

USF Training Academy on Aging, Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida;

GITT Resource Center, New York University, New York, New York;

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Kirsten Ek BA

Kirsten Ek BA

Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York;

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Sylvan Wallenstein PhD

Sylvan Wallenstein PhD

Department of Biomathematical Sciences, The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York;

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Maria L. Vezina EdD, RN

Maria L. Vezina EdD, RN

Nursing Education and Recruitment, Department of Nursing, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York; and

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Susan Fairchild MPH

Susan Fairchild MPH

GITT Resource Center, New York University, New York, New York;

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Christine K. Cassel MD

Christine K. Cassel MD

Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York;

Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Bronx VA Medical Center, Bronx, New York;

GITT Resource Center, New York University, New York, New York;

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Judith L. Howe PhD

Judith L. Howe PhD

Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York;

Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Bronx VA Medical Center, Bronx, New York;

Education for Planning and Development Co-Director, Consortium of New York Geriatric Education Centers.

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First published: 18 July 2002
Citations: 164
Address correspondence to Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, PhD, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1070, New York, NY 10029. E-mail: [email protected].

Preliminary data presented at the 1998 national meeting of the Gerontological Society of America; Philadelphia, PA.

Abstract

Interdisciplinary teams are important in providing care for older patients, but interdisciplinary teamwork is rarely a teaching focus, and little is known about trainees' attitudes towards it. To determine the attitudes of second-year post-graduate (PGY-2) internal medicine or family practice residents, advanced practice nursing (NP), and masters-level social work (MSW) students toward the value and efficiency of interdisciplinary teamwork and the physician's role on the team, a baseline survey was administered to 591 Geriatrics Interdisciplinary Team Training participants at eight U.S. academic medical centers from January 1997 to July 1999.

Most students in each profession agreed that the interdisciplinary team approach benefits patients and is a productive use of time, but PGY-2s consistently rated their agreement lower than NP or MSW students. Interprofessional differences were greatest for beliefs about the physician's role; 73% of PGY-2s but only 44% to 47% of MSW and NP trainees agreed that a team's primary purpose was to assist physicians in achieving treatment goals for patients. Approximately 80% of PGY-2s but only 35% to 40% of MSW or NP trainees agreed that physicians have the right to alter patient care plans developed by the team. Although students from all three disciplines were positively inclined toward medical interdisciplinary teamwork, medical residents were the least so. Exposure to interdisciplinary teamwork may need to occur at an earlier point in medical training than residency. The question of who is ultimately responsible for the decisions of the team may be an “Achilles heel,” interfering with shared decision-making.