Let's Talk Curriculum: Developing an Interprofessional Communication Educational Strategy

Monday, July 11, 2011: 4:05 PM

Helen K. Burns, PhD, RN, FAAN
School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

OBJECTIVES:  Integrate innovative strategies into the curriculum to teach interprofessional communication to undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students and second year pharmacy students.  Develop instructional resources to support an educational program that will facilitate students’ progressive development of interprofessional communication skills.

METHODS: Content for students was created and training and evaluation tools were developed. After the standardized colleagues were trained, scenarios and teaching processes were pilot-tested with selected groups of pharmacy and nursing students. The scenarios addressed 1) conflict over roles and authority in patient care environments, 2) inappropriate prescribing, and 3) medication errors and patient safety. Drafted cases were reviewed by instructional design consultants and profession-specific consultants for content validity.  A portion of the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (Luecht et al, 1990) was administered pre- and post-experience to assess changes in attitudes about collaborative relationships.  Surveys of student participants, first developed by Rosenzweig et al, 2008) were administered pre-, immediately post-, and at three and six months post-experience to measure if students’ perceived abilities to communicate effectively with physicians changed.

RESULTS:  Developed new course materials and tested an innovative instructional strategy to improve instruction and student development of interprofessional communication skills.  Increased the number of interprofessional education opportunities across the health sciences schools.  Fostered collaboration among faculty from different health professions schools (pharmacy, nursing, and medicine).  In addition to student evaluation and feedback, the key to a successful program is training, and support for faculty who will be teaching the didactic portion of the material and facilitating during the video and standardized colleague portions of the program.

IMPLICATIONS: The program demonstrated that interprofessional communication could be easily integrated into the existing first year nursing educational experience.  Using actual situations students may see in practice leads to an increased quality of patient care, enhanced patient outcomes, and reduction of health care errors.