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Collaborative Programs Expand Interprofessional Education

By Carol R. Cool

studentsin lab coats

Interprofessional education (IPE) is the wave of the future, as the IPEX (Integrated Professional Education Complex) building rising on Woodland Avenue can attest to.
“Interprofessional education has always been important for patient care,” said HEIDI ANDERSON, PhD, provost and vice president for academic affairs, “and the recent Affordable Care Act has made this type of practice even more critical.”

Recognizing this important need, within the first 30 days of her tenure at USciences, Dr. Anderson established a new position—associate provost for interprofessional education and clinical programs. This individual is responsible for building an interprofessional infrastructure that creates a culture of collaboration among the health profession programs at the institution. Numerous recommendations suggested that only one person internal to the institution was the “best candidate” for this new position: CATHY POON, PharmD, who was appointed to this role in October.

quoteThe goal of IPE is to enable future practitioners “to work together as a team to better serve the patient with the focus on truly patient-centered care,” said Dr. Poon, who is also a professor of clinical pharmacy.

The University has had a Geriatric Interdisciplinary Care course to train students of varied disciplines on working as part of an interdisciplinary care team for the elderly. The course, taught by LAURA A. FINN, CGP, FASCP, RPh, adjunct associate professor of pharmacy practice, continues to have full enrollment and is well received by students.

“As we’ve moved forward,” said ANDREW PETERSON, PharmD, PhD’09, John Wyeth Dean of Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy, “we are looking to incorporate this interdisciplinary focus into broader practice, rather than just into a single course.”

Over the past few years, the University has expanded its interprofessional education to encompass not just students here at USciences but also students and practitioners from area universities, medical schools, and medical center training programs. The Geriatric Education Center Interprofessional Team-Based Goals of Care Symposium in October is a great example of this expanded focus. Dr. Poon was the USciences lead on this initiative funded by a Geriatric Education Center grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.

The symposium involved 120 students from seven different majors: USciences students in occupational therapy, pharmacy, and physical therapy and students from the University of Pennsylvania’s physician studies, nursing, advanced practice nursing, and social work majors. Faculty from these university programs as well as a hospital staff chaplain participated.

quoteThe two half-day programs took place at the UPenn School of Nursing, utilizing its state-of-the-art simulation labs, which allowed one interprofessional team of learners to actively participate while another team simultaneously viewed the simulation. The simulations were also taped. The Perelman School of Medicine provided “standardized patients,” trained actors who play patients or their surrogates (caregivers) using a script. Participating faculty wrote case studies that were used in the scripts and then served as facilitators before, during, and after the simulations to help students assess their own learning outcomes. USciences faculty participants in addition to Dr. Poon were VARLEISHA D. GIBBS, OTD, OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy; DIANE E. HADLEY, PharmD, BCACP, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy; and LORA PACKEL, MS, PT, CCS, assistant professor of physical therapy.

Amy M. Corcoran, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at UPenn’s Perelman School of Medicine, was part of the core faculty and lead organizer for the program: “Activities like ours allow [our medical students] to practice in a safe learning environment how to interact with other healthcare professions. The hope is that this will lead to better clinical care as these students become part of clinical healthcare teams caring for patients.”

Goals came from the four core competencies developed by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), formed by six national education associations in various health professions. The competencies are:

  • Values and ethics for interprofessionalpractice
  • Roles and responsibilities forcollaborative practice
  • Interprofessional teamwork andteam-based practice
  • Interprofessional communicationpractices

Both students participating and observing were asked to consider how well the healthcare team listened to one another and the patient or surrogate; whether their communication, both verbal and nonverbal, was considerate; and how learning from those in other professions helped to provide higher-quality care. A 30-minute debriefing time allowed students to share their thoughts and feelings with others.

“The one main principle that I found extremely valuable was intercommunication,” said TITUS MATHEW PharmD’15. “Each member of the team had their own area of expertise, but having the ability to rely on each other and in essence building upon one another is what allowed us to reach…the most patient-oriented goal, which I believe is a common ground in every profession.”

Further events are in the planning stages and will cover various areas of interest, including transition of care from inpatient to outpatient. “This is an important experience for all students,” said DANIEL FICHTER DrOT’15, “as it provides opportunities to apply learned knowledge in a controlled environment as a stepping-stone to clinical practice. It also provides an opportunity for student interaction between educational programs and universities.”

“A building like the IPEX will provide opportunities for us to have the students learn as a future team,” said Dr. Anderson of USciences’ new building. “Using simulations, case studies, and practice-patients, students will be able to practice what they’ve learned from the didactic sessions before they complete their experiential clinical rotations.”

“We’re preparing our students for the future, not just for healthcare today,” said Dr. Poon, “so they have the skill sets to be collaborative-ready in a patient-centered care environment.”

Categories: The Bulletin, Faculty, Academics, Mayes College, Misher College, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Samson College, USciences, Department of Health Policy, Department of Occupational Therapy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Department of Physical Therapy, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Health Policy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Pharmacy, Pharmacy Administration, Physical Therapy, Public Health