Transdisciplinary health care continues to be at the forefront of patient treatment in the medical arena, in part due to escalating health care costs, an increasing aging population, and the development of multiple chronic diseases. Gaining the knowledge, experience, and principles associated with transdisciplinary teamwork to successfully prepare for modern-day practice is therefore essential for individuals of various health care professions. This report describes an assignment developed and implemented to facilitate professional interaction between graduate physical therapy, nutrition, and nursing students. The objectives of this assignment were to determine through student evaluation the effects of a transdisciplinary experience on students' understanding of the role of another discipline and students' communication skills across disciplines. When evaluating the assignment, students most often remarked that they developed a greater understanding of the roles of the included disciplines and reported a significant increase in communication skills. However, some students did not concur that this assignment was effective due to the scheduling conflicts and lack of teamwork that can occur during a collaborative project. The students' reports of their experiences in completing the assignment provide valuable insights for implementing and/or updating a preparatory transdisciplinary education component in other settings. Additional research can focus on the challenges faced by the majority of the students venturing into actual health care or "real-world" settings for comparative studies.
Christie, Catherine; Smith, A Russell Jr.; and Bednarzyk, Michele, "Transdisciplinary Assignments in Graduate Health Education as a Model for Future Collaboration" (2007). Nutrition and Dietetics Faculty Publications. 1.