Embrace a Future Designed to Improve Patient Care
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."
Experience IPE Teamwork and Problem-solving Firsthand
Henrietta Schmoll School of Health offers undergraduate students foundational courses in IPE that focus on interprofessional competencies regarding team roles and responsibilities, team values, team communication, and teamwork. Each course includes students from a variety of health-related majors and all include significant small group work. These features ensure students gain exposure to other disciplines and develop the needed collaborative skills to work in the dynamic interprofessional environments they will encounter in their careers. These courses include:
IPE 1030: Healthcare Teams Foundations and Medical Terminology
IPE 1040: Healthcare Teams Quality Outcomes
IPE 2800: Healthcare Teams Opportunities and Challenges in Aging
IPE 4200W: Research Methods
In our simulation program, a range of clinical experiences is utilized to develop students’ clinical and collaborative skills. Bringing students from different programs together to work on simulated patient cases is an ideal learning experience to strengthen communication skills. The use of high-fidelity mannequins and a variety of medical tools heightens the real-world applicability of the team approaches of interprofessional simulation.
Interprofessional clinical placements are available for students to provide hands-on opportunities to work with professionals and students from other health professions. In these settings, students will develop and execute holistic care plans to best meet the health needs of their patients.
An example of this innovative approach is the St. Mary’s Medical and Rehabilitative Therapies (SMMART) Clinic, which is a collaboration between the St. Mary’s Health Clinics and St. Catherine University. The goal of the SMMART clinic is to provide exemplary care to underserved and uninsured patients by an interprofessional team of St. Kate’s students and faculty. Focused on culturally competent care and social determinants of health, students and faculty from academic programs such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition and dietetics, and physician assistant work together in cross-disciplinary teams to care for patients. They have the opportunity to experience firsthand what other professions have to offer in terms of treatment approach and modality.
Every year several interprofessional events are offered to students, faculty, staff, and community partners. These events bring together individuals from different fields to explore topics that cross disciplines. For instance, the HSSH Colloquia hosts presentations throughout each semester. Past topics have included Tele-Health, Food Insecurity, Housing Instability, and Healthy Aging.