The University of Southern Indiana (USI) College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) was a recipient of a Health Resources and Services Administration Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention interprofessional collaborative grant. CNHP established academic-practice partnerships with community partners including three USI Community Health Centers (CHCs), and three Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinics. This interprofessional collaborative project addressed the chronic health needs and preventive care of veterans and underserved patients living in culturally diverse, socio-economically disadvantaged, and medically underserved neighborhoods. The goals of the interprofessional project were twofold: 1) to promote the health of veterans and medically underserved patients through an interprofessional care environment within the out-patient setting and 2) to increase the number and quality of interprofessional educational clinical experiences.
Model Development: The IPEC Core Competencies, TeamSTEPPS, and the Quadruple Aim serve as the foundation upon which the Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Model was developed. Collectively, these guided the development of teamwork strategies and processes so interprofessional communication was fostered, team member roles and responsibilities were clarified. The interprofessional collaborative practice model demonstrates the interwoven relationship between the patient, student teams, professional out-patient clinic staff, and the interprofessional clinical coaches at the VA and the USI-CHC sites (see Figure 1). The interprofessional relationship formed around each patient lead to a patient specific plan of care which was used to guide each patient care encounter.
The model illustrates: the patient (highlighted in yellow) as the focus of healthcare delivery and as the pivotal link between the professional healthcare teams at the outpatient clinics (CHC highlighted in red; VA clinics highlighted in blue), and the student teams (highlighted in green). The core clinic healthcare professionals who interacted with the USI team at the CHC (highlighted in red) included the nurse practitioner (NP), office manager, and medical assistant. At the VA, the core staff included the NP or physician and nursing staff (highlighted in blue). Additional site specific team members including social workers, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, and nutritionists were consulted as individual patient needs presented. The USI student teams at both clinic sites consisted of graduate occupational therapy, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and social work students and undergraduate respiratory therapy, nutrition, occupational therapy assistant, and nursing students.
The Interprofessional Clinical Coaches (ICC’s) who were USI faculty, played a valuable role in helping student teams develop team-work skills, identify healthcare priorities, promote effective communication, recognize needed resources, and formulate a plan of care in collaboration with the patient and family.
Implications for Practice: An interprofessional practice model provides the necessary structure for collaborative practice projects led by a variety of disciplines. It is imperative to recognize the overlapping relationships between patients, students, and professionals. Recognizing and promoting these relationships can enhance development of policies and procedures which guide all aspects of the project including responsibilities, communication, resource utilization, care planning and coordination, and data collection and evaluation. The USI-IPCP model provides a comprehensive structure and implementation plan upon which interprofessional student teams can interface with healthcare professionals in academic-practice partnerships within the primary care setting. This model is readily adaptable to a variety of health profession students, healthcare providers, and practice settings.