Supporting ethics educators in Canadian occupational therapy and physical therapy programs: A national interprofessional knowledge exchange project

Ethics education is the cornerstone of professional practice, fostering knowledge and respect for core ethical values among healthcare professionals. Ethics is also a subject well-suited for interprofessional education and collaboration. However, there are few initiatives to gather experiences and share resources among ethics educators in rehabilitation. We thus undertook a knowledge exchange project to: 1) share knowledge about ethics training across Canadian occupational and physical therapy programs, and 2) build a community of educators dedicated to improving ethics education. The objectives of this paper are to describe this interprofessional knowledge exchange project involving ethics educators (with a diversity of professional and disciplinary backgrounds) from Canadian occupational and physical therapy programs as well as analyze its outcomes based on participants’ experiences/perceptions. Two knowledge exchange strategies were employed: an interactive one-day workshop and a wiki platform. An immediate post-workshop questionnaire evaluated the degree to which participants’ expectations were met. Structured telephone interviews 9–10 months after the workshop collected participants’ perceptions on whether (and if so, how) the project influenced their teaching or led to further interprofessional collaborations. Open-ended questions from the post-workshop questionnaires and individual interviews were analyzed using qualitative methods. Of 40 ethics educators contacted, 23 participated in the workshop and 17 in the follow-up interview. Only 6 participants logged into the wiki from its launch to the end of data collection. Five themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: 1) belonging and networking; 2) sharing and collaborating; 3) changing (or not) ways of teaching ethics; 4) sustaining the network; and 5) envisioning the future of ethics education. The project attained many of its goals, despite encountering some challenges. While the wiki platform proved to be of limited benefit in advancing the project goals, the interactive format and collaborative nature of the one-day workshop were described as rewarding and effective in bringing together occupational therapy and physical therapy educators to meet, network, and share knowledge.