TitleEight Professions, 18 teams, One Goal
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With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, interprofessional education (IPE) was endorsed by the federal government. Colleges and universities were charged to train health care professional students to work collaboratively to improve client outcomes, contain or decrease healthcare costs, and increase client satisfaction. The College of Nursing and Health Professions received a federal grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to train student to work in interprofessional teams. Students from eight professions formed 18 teams with one goal to learn to work collaboratively in effective interprofessional teams. They were placed in local nurse led health clinics located in local title one elementary schools, and the Veterans Administration health clinics. Each team was under the direction of a faculty member who served as a clinical coach. The students were from The College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Social Work Program in The College of Liberal Arts.
While most will agree that IPE is important, significant barriers exist which impact student learning. Student challenges included inadequate IPE team training, workload/schedule challenges, student program size, lack of appreciation of IPE value, and knowledge deficit of other healthcare disciplines. Faculty addressed each challenge by developing an IPE curriculum using as a framework the IPE core competencies and a federal program entitled "TeamSTEPPS". Over the course of three years, students from the eight professions were surveyed using two questionaires: The Teamwork Attitude Questionaire (T-TAQ) and the Collaborative Practice Assessment Tool (CPAT). T-TAQ results demonstrated that student communication among teams significantly increased. The CPAT, divided into subscales of team structure, general role responsibilities, autonomy, communication & information exchange, community linkages & coordination of care, decision making & conflict management, and patient involvment were all statistically significant. Prior to this project, students had little if any exposure to working interprofessionally. This project allowed students the opportunity to participate as interprofessional team members and witness the impact of teamwork on patient outcomes. Quarterly focus group discussions revealed students gained an appreciation for other disciplines' roles in holistic, comprehensive care. The goal of working collaboratively and effectively as interprofessional team members was realized by the students. Successfully integrating IPE into healthcare curricula empowered healthcare students to develop and engage as effective interprofessional teams members as they transition into the workforce.