Simulating the multi-disciplinary care team approach: Enhancing student understanding of anatomy through an ultrasound-anchored interprofessional session

Marianne T. Luetmer, Beth A. Cloud, James W. Youdas, Wojciech Pawlina, Nirusha Lachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Quality of healthcare delivery is dependent on collaboration between professional disciplines. Integrating opportunities for interprofessional learning in health science education programs prepares future clinicians to function as effective members of a multi-disciplinary care team. This study aimed to create a modified team-based learning (TBL) environment utilizing ultrasound technology during an interprofessional learning activity to enhance musculoskeletal anatomy knowledge of first year medical (MD) and physical therapy (PT) students. An ultrasound demonstration of structures of the upper limb was incorporated into the gross anatomy courses for first-year MD (n=53) and PT (n=28) students. Immediately before the learning experience, all students took an individual readiness assurance test (iRAT) based on clinical concepts regarding the assigned study material. Students observed while a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician demonstrated the use of ultrasound as a diagnostic and procedural tool for the shoulder and elbow. Following the demonstration, students worked within interprofessional teams (n=14 teams, 5-6 students per team) to review the related anatomy on dissected specimens. At the end of the session, students worked within interprofessional teams to complete a collaborative clinical case-based multiple choice post-test. Team scores were compared to the mean individual score within each team with the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Students scored higher on the collaborative post-test (95.2 ±10.2%) than on the iRAT (66.1±13.9% for MD students and 76.2 ±14.2% for PT students, P<0.0001). Results suggest that this interprofessional team activity facilitated an improved understanding and clinical application of anatomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2017



  • Gross anatomy education
  • Interdisciplinary health care team
  • Interprofessional education
  • Medical education
  • Physical therapy education
  • Team-based learning
  • Ultrasound education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Embryology

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