Master's Project Title:

“It’s definitely lived experience”: A qualitative study of factors influencing student volunteer attitudes at the Phillip’s Neighborhood Clinic towards interprofessionalism and working with the underserved

MCH Student:

Katy Ajer

Date of Defense:

January 31, 2012


Purpose: A qualitative evaluation was completed of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, student – run clinic, the Phillip’s Neighborhood Clinic (PNC). The purpose was to assess how PNC student volunteers’ attitudes develop regarding working interprofessionally and with the underserved.

Methods: Nineteen second – year PNC student volunteers participated in four focus groups that took place throughout February 2011. Focus group sessions were composed of two sections. The first addressed attitude development towards interprofessionalism, the second addressed attitude development towards working with the underserved. Standardized questions were used was designed to encourage participants to discuss what factors had influenced their attitudes, and how their attitudes had changed since entering their professional program.

Results: Participants discussed how their perceptions were influenced both before and after entering their professional program. Participants varied in the degree to which they were influenced before entering their professional program. Two common themes emerged from the interprofessional discussions: Individualized Influences and Structural Influences. Two common themes emerged during the underserved discussions: Internal Drive and External Incentives.

Conclusion: Student attitudes towards the concepts of interprofessionalism and working with the underserved are often established before entering their professional programs. However, the environment of the Phillip’s Neighborhood Clinic has the potential to be influential in solidifying or changing student volunteer attitudes to be more positive towards these two concepts.