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Review Article

Interprofessional practice education: is the ‘interprofessional’ component relevant to recruiting new graduates to underserved areas?

Submitted: 9 January 2013
Revised: 23 April 2013
Accepted: 27 May 2013
Published: 20 November 2013

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Author(s) : Deutschlander S, Suter E, Grymonpre R.

Siegrid DeutschlanderEsther SuterRuby Grymonpre

Citation: Deutschlander S, Suter E, Grymonpre R.  Interprofessional practice education: is the ‘interprofessional’ component relevant to recruiting new graduates to underserved areas? Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2013; 13: 2489. Available: (Accessed 23 October 2017)


Introduction:  Globally, there has been a serious health human resource (HHR) shortage for underserved populations in and outside of urban centers. This article focuses on practice education, specifically interprofessional (IP) practice education, and its impact on recruiting new health sciences graduates to populations in underserved areas as an important HHR outcome. The authors reviewed 16 articles on prelicensure practice education to identify whether (1) IP practice education is a successful recruitment strategy to for graduates to underserved communities and (2) the IP component provides an important recruitment incentive over uniprofessional practice education.
Methods:  A scoping review was conducted for the time period from 2004 to 2012 yielding 1245 articles of which 16 studies were selected for this review.
Results:  Out of these 16 studies, the following HHR outcomes were reported: practice uptake by new graduates with underserved populations (eight studies), interest in working with underserved populations after graduation (eight studies), and residency requests for IP sites (three studies). These results show that IP practice education has a modest influence on recruitment to underserved areas. The impact of the IP component as an added recruitment incentive over practice education alone was not assessed in any study. Therefore, it remains uncertain whether the IP component offers an added benefit to successful recruitment.
Conclusions:  Given the shortage of healthcare providers in rural and urban underserved populations, innovative recruitment and retention strategies to these areas must be developed and evaluated. This review of the literature suggests that IP practice education experiences offered to students may influence their first place of employment at graduation, especially in rural and urban primary care specialities involving underserved populations. The existing evidence is not strong; recommendations for future research include describing the IP practice education interventions in greater detail, designing longitudinal studies tracking all former students in such programs, and developing methodologically and theoretically rigorous intervention studies to measure the impact of the IP component as an added recruitment incentive over uniprofessional practice education experiences.

Key words: workforce shortages, graduate career choices, health sciences students, prelicensure interprofessional practice education, recruitment of healthcare providers.

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