Developing a Creative Collaboration to Promote Interprofessional Education for Baccalaureate Nursing Students

Thursday, 27 July 2017: 2:50 PM

Tauna Fleming Gulley, PhD
Elliott School of Nursing, The University of Pikeville, Pikeville, KY, USA

In November 2012, the School of Nursing and the XXX College of Osteopathic Medicine at XXXX created a workgroup aimed at structuring interprofessional learning activities for students. Since that time, the interprofessional education (IPE) initiative has expanded to include the disciplines of optometry and social work at the University of XXX, the XX College of Pharmacy in XXX and the school of nursing from XXX .

The aim of this presentation is to describe how a small university in the central Appalachian region of the United States developed a creative collaboration among various disciplines to promote interprofessional educational experiences for their students. The collaboration was named the XXX.

The Baccalaureate Essentials for Nursing Education (2008) state interprofessional education provides opportunities for the baccalaureate prepared nurse to acquire knowledge of various practice disciplines, to develop confident communication skills, and to create effective collaboration techniques. Proficiency in each of these areas will result in optimal patient outcomes for the baccalaureate prepared nurse.

This interprofessional education project provides opportunities for nursing students to participate in IPE activities. For example, nursing students participate on an IPE team consisting of other student nurses, student physicians, student pharmacists, and student social workers. The IPE teams meet face to face in the fall and spring of each year. At that time, teams are presented with a case study. Teams are responsible for providing a final plan of care for the patient described in the case. Specific goals for the collaborative learning activity include the following: 1) Students will be able to work with individuals from other professions to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values, 2) Students will use knowledge of their role and those of other professions to develop a plan of care for a hypothetical patient, 3) Students will communicate effectively and 4) Students will learn and apply the principles of team dynamics.

Collaborative actions are demonstrated throughout the process. Case studies are created collaboratively among faculty members from each discipline. Faculty members from each discipline also serve as facilitators during the case study activity. Facilitators are provided a training luncheon prior to each activity. Training is focused on reviewing the goals of the activity and the facilitator’s role in guiding the students through the case study.

Participants, students and faculty, complete surveys before the case study activity and immediately after the activity. Results indicate there are improvements of the knowledge base of each other’s professional expertise and capabilities. In addition, there is a consistent awareness of the participants recognizing the need to work as a team in collaboration with each other in the healthcare arena. A positive interaction between each professional group was noted. Students from all disciplines reported higher levels of teamwork than the facilitators’ assessment of the group experience. Following the case study activity, student physicians and student pharmacists rated student nurses higher in these categories: academic ability, professional competence, interpersonal skills, ability to make decisions, leadership ability, practical skills and competence.

 Student testimonies included the following:

*Experience is the best teacher. I believe this should be done again during rotations for all students again to see how much true knowledge they acquire.

*This was a great learning opportunity. It was good to work with other professions to solve a problem.

*Great experience enjoyed communicating and solving the case!

*We had a great team! Thank you for the opportunity.

 Future Endeavors

The XXX has been a successful way for nursing, medical, pharmacy and social work students to learn collaboration skills with, and from each other in order to provide optimal care and improve patient outcomes. Future endeavors include participation with the XXX College of Optometry and the XXX School of Law. Including optometry students and law students in this collaboration will provide valuable considerations when developing a plan of care for clients.

Results have been positive. Students learn the roles of disciplines other than their own and they practice essential communication skills. In addition, faculty members from the various disciplines create and share curriculum pearls for teaching interprofessional collaboration skills.

A goal of the XXX is to provide virtual experiences for participants who are unable to meet face to face. Virtual IPE experiences could include global collaborations among students with various cultural backgrounds living in different parts of the world.