A clinical nursing rotation transforms medical students’ interprofessional attitudes

Katrina Butterworth, Rashmi Rajupadhya, Rajesh Gongal, Terra Manca, Shelley Ross, Darren Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the extent to which a one-week nursing rotation for medical students changed the interprofessional attitudes of the participating nurses and students. Third-year medical students worked with nurses before starting clinical rotations. Pre- and post-experience surveys assessing perceptions of mutual respect, nurse-doctor roles, and interprofessional communication and teamwork were given to 55 nurses and 57 students. The surveys consisted of qualitative questions and a Likert scale questionnaire that was analyzed using qualitative and quantitative content analyses. The response rate was 51/57 (89%) students and 44/55 (80%) nurse preceptors. Nurses reported that students met nurses’ expectations by displaying responsibility, respect, effective communication, and an understanding of nursing roles. Medical students’ narratives demonstrated two significant changes. First, their views of nurses changed from that of physician helpers to that of collaborative patient-centred professionals. Second, they began defining nursing not by its tasks, but as a caring- and communication-centred profession. Responses to Likert-scaled questions showed significant differences corresponding to changes described in the narrative. A one-week immersive clinical nursing rotation for medical students was a transformative way of learning interprofessional competencies. Learning in an authentic workplace during a clinical rotation engendered mutual respect between nurses and future doctors. Students’ view of the role of nurses changed from nurses working for doctors with patients, to working with doctors for patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0197161
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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