Interprofessional Education Day

I attended the University of Maryland Baltimore’s Interprofessional Education (IPE) Day last Thursday, February 26th, along with about twenty of my nursing classmates. The University director of IPE is also the Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing – Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN.

IPE Day gave representatives from a number of the University of Maryland Baltimore’s schools the opportunity to come together, meet one another, collaborate on a case study, and eat barbeque. (That last activity was not necessarily an integral part of the exercise, but I think it’s an important detail nonetheless – I wouldn’t want to deprive my readers of a full picture of the day.)

The focus of much of my nursing education to date has been on the acute care setting. Instructors have emphasized the importance of teamwork, not only among nursing staff, but also with other hospital personnel – ranging from materials management to pharmacists to unit managers, to patient transporters, and everyone in between. The activity last Thursday afforded me and my fellow nursing students the chance to participate in an activity that required communication among a large and diverse group, and focused on a patient who was not being managed in a hospital, but was instead someone out in the community who was experiencing a number of symptoms that were making every day activities difficult.

Nursing students were joined by representatives from many of the University of Maryland’s professional schools including students studying law, medicine, dental hygiene, dentistry, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy, and social work. We were presented with a case study and given some time to strategize about our upcoming meeting with a simulated patient. Then, we met with the patient, debriefed among ourselves afterwards to form a plan, and then had a second meeting with the patient to present our proposed plan.

The day was productive in a number of ways but I think having the opportunity to see many other disciplines in action was what was most memorable for me. Nurses at the bedside sometimes become the default coordinators of care from a number of different parties, and I think the more I know about each team member, the more effective I will be in this role.

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