Due to the diversity of services provided and populations served, it is difficult to accurately and consistently capture practice and outcome data, including student clinical activities. Therefore, the Office of Faculty Practice has created a Faculty Practice supported position dedicated to the collection and analysis of outcome data and quality improvement efforts of the practice. An initial step in outcome analysis was conducting a cross sectional descriptive survey directed to each Rush University College of Nursing Faculty Practice clinician.
An illuminating result from the survey is the higher than expected number of health disciplines represented among the students at the faculty practice sites. Of the clinicians reporting, 75% currently have at least one student in clinic. Clinicians most frequently report nursing students- both Baccalaureate students and Doctoral students, many of which are Advanced Practice students. Also reported are Medical, Social work, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, and Respiratory Therapy students. Additionally, while Rush University is the most common university represented, the Faculty Practice sites also precept and teach students from eleven other regional colleges and universities.
The importance of interdisciplinary education and health care has been expressed frequently by professional organizations of both education and healthcare as well as by the federal government. In 2013 a Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) advisory committee recommended for the inclusion of “population health and interprofessional competencies” into program funding opportunities for public health (HRSA, 2013, p9). The American Association of Colleges of Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau International recognize the importance of interdisciplinary health education as well as health care in white papers and position statements (AACN, 2015; STTI, 2003).
These organizations and others have recognized the benefits of interdisciplinary learning, which have been described in several scopes. Some authors have pointed to financial benefits. Problems with interdisciplinary communication and collaboration have been shown to be costly in terms of patient outcomes in health care systems (Sargeant, 2009), resulting in as much as 70% of adverse events being related to problems in collaboration and communication between providers (Fewster-Thuente & Velsor-Friedrich, 2008). Beyond the economic advantages, participants in IPE report improved interprofessional communication (Kilminster et.al, 2004) and increased familiarity with the viewpoints of disciplines other than their own (Robben et. al, 2012).
The purpose of this poster is to describe the existing interdisciplinary efforts of the clinicians in Rush University College of Nursing Faculty Practice sites. We will examine these efforts in relation to current recommendations for successful interdisciplinary education. Finally recommendations will be made to the Office of Faculty Practice regarding specific needs to support interdisciplinary student opportunities in the clinical areas.
Three to four of the most professionally diverse Rush University College of Nursing Faculty Practice sites will be selected. Faculty Practice clinicians responsible for the clinical experiences of students will be interviewed to discern the various ways that interdisciplinary experiences for students occur. Themes will be sought, conceptually organized to assess the following areas: Interprofessional presence; Intersection of patient and interdisciplinary student collaboration; Community partner commitment to interdisciplinary education; Interprofessional communication (role clarification and debriefing are key to ongoing experience).
It is expected that each site will have strengths as well as areas in which the Office of Faculty Practice can provide improved support. After interviewing the clinicians, it may be possible that the information gathered can be generalized across Faculty Practice sites to enhance interdisciplinary student clinical interactions within the diversity of Faculty Practice sites. This information may also inform the overall academic practice partnership models in use, and assist in efforts to create rubrics for effective interdisciplinary student collaboration which supports the strategic goals and missions of both the academic and practice organizations. An example might be interdisciplinary student collaboration on projects could provide data for grant applications, build new structures for student orientations or clinical rotations, and support other agency initiatives, giving the students “real world” experience in effective collaboration.
Implications and Next Steps:
As noted in STTI’s Arista 3, interdisciplinary health delivery is a key prerogative in a changing health environment (STTI, 2003). Interdisciplinary education in the clinical setting aligns with the goals of the Rush University College of Nursing Office of Faculty Practice, fostering student learning of innovative care models in diverse learning opportunities.