Professional Socialization and Attitudes Towards Interprofessional Collaboration Among Graduate Social Work and Health Professions Students


  • Allison West University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • Shari Miller University of Georgia
  • Judith Leitch University of Maryland, Baltimore



Interprofessional education, interprofessional collaboration, professional socialization


Although there is an aggressive push towards interprofessional collaboration in higher education as well as in practice, the traditional culture and organization of higher education, as well as the need for and history of disciplinary distinction, may impede these efforts. Using an online survey, this study explored the relationship between professional socialization of 157 graduate students in four disciplines and their perceptions and attitudes about interprofessional collaboration. Results indicate that first year students had more positive perceptions and attitudes about interprofessional collaboration than more advanced students. Furthermore, social work students perceived themselves as having lower prestige than graduate-level nursing, pharmacy, and medical students. These findings suggest that, unless managed strategically, professional socialization may diminish positive perceptions and attitudes towards interprofessional collaboration. Thus, social work educators should pay careful attention to the role of professional socialization and how it is manifest in both the explicit and implicit curriculum.

Author Biographies

Allison West, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Allison L. West, A.B.B., M.S.W. University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work

Shari Miller, University of Georgia

Shari Miller, Ph.D. PhD Program Director Associate Professor University of Georgia School of Social Work

Judith Leitch, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Judith Leitch, M.S.W. University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work