Collaborative education helps Marshall health care students prepare for future

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University officials, including the deans of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions, announced today a series of interprofessional education sessions designed to teach health care students collaborative team skills for providing optimal patient care. 

The inaugural program, which started in February, encourages students from multiple disciplines to learn the advantages of collaboration in the delivery of high-quality health care. 

“The concept of team-based health care that includes a physician, a pharmacist, a nurse, a physical therapist and others is truly essential for delivering the best care available to our patients,” said Dr. Kevin W. Yingling, dean of the School of Pharmacy.   “As health care organizations emphasize the importance of a team-based approach, it’s incumbent upon higher education to ensure our students understand the process.” 

Approximately 300 students from medicine, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy, social work and communications disorders are attending the sessions, which have been facilitated by administrators and professors from each area.  

“The students have been divided into small groups and given case studies to work on as teams,” said Dr. Michael W. Prewitt, dean of the College of Health Professions (COHP).  “They discuss overall care plans, medication dosages, discharge information, follow-up care and ethics.  Really, they are discussing all the components that are part of the health care process.   It’s been incredibly beneficial for all.” 

Pamela J. Holland, one of several COHP faculty members responsible for organizing the collaboration among schools and director of clinical education of communication disorders, said she’s had students leave the sessions with a sense of excitement for the future.

“Students learn best with hands-on experience,” Holland said. “This is a relaxed setting, and a low-stakes learning environment. What a great way to prepare them for the real world and if they do make a mistake here, they can learn from it without jeopardizing a patient’s care.”

The concept of interprofessional education or common learning has gained traction in the past few years as a way to break down the traditional “silos” associated with health care education and ultimately deliver better patient care. 

“I’m pleased that this inaugural initiative has gone so well and I commend everyone for their diligent, hard work,” said Dr. Joseph I. Shapiro, dean of the School of Medicine.  “It is a challenge to bring so many students from different disciplines together for training and our team has done an excellent job. I’m eager for future collaborations.” 

The objectives for the interprofessional classes were derived from the Inter-professional Education Collaborative, which has representatives from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Dental Education Association, Association of American Medical Colleges and Association of Schools of Public Health.

Date Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013