For some time now, students at the University of New England have participated in collaborative learning opportunities with classmates from other health profession disciplines. From shared classrooms to service learning, with simulation and in the community, students and faculty come together to learn about and from each other with the common goal of gaining competencies that will benefit their future practices. In the words of one student: “With each of us having various roles and responsibilities, we are all able to work together with a common end goal of providing the utmost care and maintaining the well- being of patients…. involvement from different health care professionals allows us to seek solutions to any problem that may arise”
In February 2015 the University was fortunate to receive a Josiah Macy Jr. Board grant aimed specifically at expanding the capacity of existing interprofessional campus-based opportunities and adding newly designed learning experiences to engage students from UNE Biddeford-based College of Osteopathic Medical (UNECOM). An interprofessional faculty team has been formed to create and teach four required Seminar classes to be taught over the course of the academic year. The seminar follows a well-evaluated model established by the Center for Interprofessional Education and Research at St. Louis University. Medical, nursing, physician assistant, and pharmacy students will make up the first cohort of integrated teams. Together they will learn firsthand about how to maximize each other’s expertise to benefit patients, families, and health care environments.
In addition to bringing Health professions students together on our Biddeford Campus, this fall students from UNECOM will join a range of health profession classmates on the Portland Campus in a case-based, simulated interprofessional team immersion (IPTI), via SKYPE. The IPTI experience introduces students to team-building methods, including TeamSTEPPS. They also have the opportunity to interact with standardized patients and debrief with a team of interprofessional faculty facilitators trained by UNE master trainers. Inclusion of UNECOM students has expanded our teaching toolbox to include teleteaching experiences, which will be valuable to our students as they move to rural clinical placements and careers.
We look forward to implementing new academic programming that will prepare students for future interprofessional collaborative practice clinical experiences.