Service Learning in Honduras: Rehabilitation Student Perspectives on International Interprofessional Collaboration

By Susan Klappa and Nathan Hellyer.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This interprofessional education collaboration experience (IPECE) in rehabilitation provided opportunities to work in an international interprofessional collaborative team while providing pro bono services in an impoverished region of Honduras. Doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students from the United States (US) joined Functional Therapy (FT) students and licensed professionals from both countries in Honduras. Is it possible for rehabilitation students from two different countries to come together to form an effective interprofessional rehabilitation team?Ethnographic methods were used in this case study to explore the culture of IPECE. Interviews were conducted with DPT students from the US and FT students from Honduras. Students from both countries believed they learned from, with, and about the other group and other professionals. Both groups of students described the importance of building trust and a collaborative environment when treating patients while working on interprofessional teams. In terms of social responsibility, DPT students became more cognizant of international health care needs while FT students increased their awareness of local rehabilitation needs. We conclude that students on IPECE in Honduras are able to form effective health care teams while they learn about, from, and with each other while providing pro bono health care outreach. We believe that students who participate in IPECE develop a clear concept of interprofessional collaboration, advocacy, and social responsibility through their exposure to interprofessional teamwork.

Keywords: Interprofessional Collaboration, Service Learning, Pro Bono Work

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 4, Issue 3-4, May 2015, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 578.539KB).

Dr. Susan Klappa

Professor, Davenport University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Sue Klappa is a professor and Chair/Program Director of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI, USA. Dr. Klappa earned her Ph.D. in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction: Family, Youth, and Community from the University of Minnesota and her Master of Physical Therapy degree at the College of St. Catherine in Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Klappa teaches in the areas of adult neuro rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, prosthetics, differential diagnosis, and community health and wellness. She has a passion for the role of physical therapy in the international community and has traveled to the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Venezuela, Mexico, and Haiti as a physical therapist. She has also been involved in disaster relief work in Haiti. Her research interests include studying interprofessional collaboration, community engagement, and the influence of international immersion experiences in preparing PT clinicians for community engagement. She is also interested in education in the community and how service learning influences civic engagement of physical therapists and community empowerment. She has written a book entitled Experiences of Physical Therapists Not-Knowing during International Service Work: The Essence of Not-Knowing.

Dr. Nathan Hellyer

Assistant Professor, Mayo Program in Physical Therapy, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA