The healthcare field is undergoing significant change focused on improving patient experience, decreasing costs, and improving outcomes. A strategy for achieving these goals is the development of interprofessional practice, in which collaboration is essential.
Interprofessional practice refers to different disciplines, such as nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, respiratory care, social work, exercise science, dietetics, holistic health, physician assisting, sonography and radiography working together in teams. Teams include direct patient care teams, in which a team provides care to a population of patients, and system improvement teams established to solve problems and issues within a healthcare system.
Working in teams is not intuitive, but takes exposure to different disciplines, learning skills that are essential for high functioning teams and practicing these skills throughout your educational experience. At St. Catherine University, we offer multiple opportunities for interprofessional education (IPE). IPE, according to the World Health Organization (2010), is “when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Interprofessional education is interactive and team based."
We offer foundational courses in IPE that focus on interprofessional competencies regarding team roles and responsibilities, team values, team communication and teamwork. These foundational courses include:
IPE 1030: Healthcare Teams Roles and Responsibilities
IPE 1040: Healthcare Teams Quality Outcomes
IPE 2800: Healthcare Teams Opportunities and Challenges in Aging
IPE 4200W: Research Methods
We also provide exciting experiential opportunities that include the Interprofessional Clinical Scholar and the Elder Teacher programs.
The Interprofessional Clinical Scholar Program (ICSP) focuses on solving real world practice problems. Students join teams of faculty and students from different disciplines and practicing clinicians in hospitals and long-term care settings to address a care issue. Students learn about evidence-based practice and experience team problem-solving that adds value to the lives of individual patients and residents, as well as adding value to the care facility. The team implements a practice change and studies the results. Students have opportunities to present with the team nationally and to publish results in professional journals.
The Elder Teacher program is a clinical experience that involves working on an interprofessional healthcare team. Students from different disciplines are assigned to an interprofessional team. Each team works with an Elder Teacher, a resident of a care center or assisted living facility. Team members also work under the guidance of a Clinical Mentor from the facility as well as a faculty mentor from the student’s academic program. Together, the team reviews the Elder Teacher’s health status, discusses treatment plans and finds new ways to optimize the Elder Teacher’s health, independence and quality of life. In the process, the team learns from the Elder Teacher about health and wellness issues that older adults face.
Each spring semester, two learning opportunities bring students from different disciplines together to engage in a case study of a community-dwelling person with chronic health needs. Students work together in interprofessional teams to develop a comprehensive care plan, share their disciplinary knowledge and expertise, and experience working on an interprofessional, simulated care team. One case study event is held on the Minneapolis campus and the second one is held on the St. Paul campus.
The Henrietta Schmoll School of Health hosts an annual IPE summit that brings together some of the most thoughtful and creative minds in healthcare—including administrators, practicing clinicians, educators and students from a wide variety of disciplines—to address current topics on interprofessional practice and education. The conference includes a call for papers and posters that advance understanding of teamwork, collaborative practice, and interprofessional care delivery and education models.