Introduction: The IOM report stressed the importance of Interprofessional Education Collaboration to practice (IEP). IEP is comprised of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Dental Education Association, Association of American Medical Colleges and Association of Schools of Public Health who worked together to define interprofessional education and the associated competencies. This report identified four domains of competencies: 1. Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice; 2. Roles/Responsibilities; 3. Interprofessional Communication, and; 4. Teams and Teamwork. The World Health Organization's (WHO) definition of IPE is two or more professions learning together or about each other’s role in order to provide effective collaboration with the goal of improved health outcomes. The College of New Jersey School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science in conjunction with community partners developed an interprofessional program to combat childhood obesity in urban elementary schools. Our intervention had teams of students and practitioners provide care in a collaborative manner, including students, teachers, administration, and parents in the planning and implementation of care. The integration of students in their formative years as health professionals allows them the opportunity to collaborate with other disciplines and practice interdisciplinary communication skills while learning leadership responsibilities. The goal of the collaboration was higher quality of care, improved communication skills, and the value of interprofessional collaboration.
Methodology/Implementation: The interdisciplinary program afforded participants opportunities to share ideas with members of the interprofessional team. Nursing students observed faculty and other professionals model collaboration, interest in their discipline, and continued learning. Undergraduate nursing students were afforded the opportunity to work with the eleven community health partners in a variety of disciplines including after-school programs, community gardens, community clinics, nutritionists, professional chefs, and health educators.
Evaluation/Results: The CHC benefited children, elementary schools, nursing students, faculty, and community partners. Children and schools gained resources, knowledge, and improvements in overall health. Nursing students participated in collaborative practice and interdisciplinary communication while developing leadership skills. Faculty in multiple disciplines developed a new understanding and appreciation for others’ expertise and collaborated on scholarly work. Collaboration with nursing students and faculty enhanced the ability of community partners to provide programs and services to urban elementary school children.
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