|Photo Credit: David Hand|
Maura Purcell, a second-year student in the School of Nursing, had her first taste of interprofessional health education (IPHE) in September of 2010, when she attended an all-day session in the Millberry Union gym. Every first-year student in the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and the physical therapy program – about 500 in all – was present. Divided into 60 small groups, the students discussed topics including patient safety and health care disparities. They also watched skits in which deans of the schools and the physical therapy chair played various roles in treating a patient with a range of health issues.
The goal was to help students from all five professions learn more about each other. Purcell, 27, said the session piqued her interest, but she also had ideas on how to improve it. So last summer as part of the UCSF Summer Curriculum Ambassador program, she and student representatives from the other schools and the physical therapy program worked on a curriculum development team focused solely on UCSF's Interprofessional Health Education program. They were joined by a physical therapy student in the latter half of the summer and the fall quarter. The team’s work served to enhance the continuity and sense of community throughout the yearlong curriculum by focusing all events and activities around a single patient case. It also introduced a new longitudinal project, aimed at giving small teams of students a chance to help a campus or community health organization with a patient education project, like a brochure or video.
"I knew that interprofessional collaboration was important before I came here," Purcell said, "but I hadn't thought about its importance in education settings. If you keep people in their own schools throughout their entire education, by the time they're in a clinical setting, they've had no practice working with other health professionals. They don't know how they're different or where they overlap."
UCSF's Interprofessional Health Education program is part of a national and international movement aimed at teaching students how to work in a more collaborative manner. Read More