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Near Peer Learning between Medical and Physiotherapy Students: A Pilot Study of Anatomy Knowledge, Attitudes, Communication and Teamwork


Introduction: There is ample evidence of the benefits of learning across professions in the context of gross anatomy with respect to communication, teamwork and attitudes of health care students towards each other, and a smaller body of evidence that it improves anatomy knowledge when organised and overseen by faculty. There are no published studies of such interventions by students for students exploring both anatomy knowledge and attitudinal scores. The purpose of this medical (MD) student-led study was to examine the effectiveness of peer-to-peer teaching and learning between MD and physiotherapy (PT) students in terms of anatomy knowledge, communication and teamwork attributes.
Methods: A team of five MD students provided six upper and six lower limb anatomy demonstration sessions to 83 PT students in small groups across all three years of their degree programme. Anatomical knowledge and student attitudes towards such sessions were assessed with pre/post MCQ tests and the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS).
Results: There was a statistically significant improvement in the mean MCQ test scores after the intervention. PT students reported welcoming more such sessions. Post-intervention responses showed an improvement in PT students’ concepts of Teamwork and Collaboration (+0.15, p=0.02) and Positive Professional Identity (+0.20, p=0.01) in all years.
Conclusions: This pilot study of an MD student-led intervention had positive effects on anatomy knowledge and attitudinal changes among PT students, suggesting that the integration of such sessions into health care curricula is of benefit at little to no additional cost.

Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2023
Publication Date May 1, 2023
Journal Journal of Academic Development and Education Anatomical Sciences Special Edition
Print ISSN 2051-3593
Keywords near peer teaching and learning, anatomy education, physiotherapy students, medical students
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