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Health Care Students Practice Patient Care Together

Published on 01 April 2015

Students from different health care professions filed into the first session of an interprofessional education collaboration between St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Washington University School of Medicine, and Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College during the 2014-15 academic year.

They were handed a medical chart for “Skylar Field,” a mock patient. The patient had hip replacement surgery and was post-operative on day one. The interprofessional teams of student pharmacists and students of occupational therapy, nursing, and medicine worked together to devise a treatment and discharge plan.

But, after an hour of collaborative work, the students were told by faculty that “Field” had attempted to get out of bed, fallen, and hurt her shoulder. The teams had to revise their original treatment plans based on their interaction with the patient. Afterward, they debriefed and discussed how the teams worked together and what they learned.

What started as a pilot program has become a required introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) as part of the Interprofessional Patient Care course for professional year three (P3) students. “It’s been so successful,” says Gloria Grice, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy practice and interim director of experiential education, who spearheaded the simulation with faculty form the other two institutions.

“Interprofessional exercises not only prepare students for interprofessional collaborative practice, which we know improves patient care, but they help equip students with important teamwork and communication skills necessary to be effective health care practitioners,” Grice explains.

The simulation left a definite impression on the STLCOP students who’ve participated.

“It put my education into perspective,” says P3 student William Byland. “It allowed me to see past my current goals of passing exams and classes to grasp the bigger picture of using what I learn today in the classroom to improve the lives of my future patients.”

STLCOP, Washington University, and Barnes-Jewish College have collaborated to create the Center for Interprofessional Education to design an interprofessional education curriculum among the various health care professions at the three institutions. The Center will be housed in STLCOP’s new academic and research building, scheduled for completion this summer.

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