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Students sitting at tables and collaborating during IPE Day.

Worcester and Manchester Campuses Host Annual IPE Day

  • On Wednesday, June 5, 2019, students across eight academic disciplines—acupuncture, pharmacy, physician assistant studies, optometry, occupational therapy, nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, and physical therapy—came together to participate in the University's annual Interprofessional Education Day, or IPE Day, on the Worcester and Manchester campuses.

    The topic of this year's IPE Day was the opioid epidemic, an ongoing crisis impacting practitioners across the healthcare industry and influencing each step of the patient treatment process. Each campus hosted three sessions throughout the day, during which students sat in small interdisciplinary discussion groups.

    At the start of each session, students learned how to respond to an opioid overdose and practiced assembling a naloxone nasal spray device, which is effective in reversing an overdose. After learning how to properly react to an emergent overdose, students offered perspectives on how they, as individual practitioners and members of a healthcare team, could help reduce a patient's chances of becoming dependent on opioids. They engaged with one another and the event's faculty facilitators as they role played patient-provider interactions and participated in group discussions.

    Students on the Manchester campus in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program offered hot and cold packs as effective, all-natural pain management devices, while PharmD students explained the importance of pharmacists making interventions with prescribers and patients. Nursing and physician assistant students highlighted the importance of meaningful, open communication with patients. And students in every program agreed that the best way to battle-back the opioid crisis is collaboratively.

    "Interprofessional education activities, such as IPE Day, allow students to learn in the same way they practice—with other healthcare professionals," said Amanda Morrill, PharmD, BCPS, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at MCPHS and coordinator of the Manchester IPE Day sessions. "Our students are trained in specialized professional programs on a daily basis, and activities such as this allow them to broaden their perspectives and experiences by working with other professions. Thus, our students are better prepared to thrive in the current healthcare model upon graduation."

    Through events like IPE Day and the efforts of Dr. Morrill, Karyn Sullivan, PharmD, MPH, RPh, Director of Interprofessional Education, Professor of Pharmacy Practice, and all of the members of the IPE Working Group for Worcester and Manchester, students are well-equipped to become the healthcare leaders of tomorrow.

    "My hope is that after graduation, in practice, our students look back on this experience and become the member of their team that reaches across departments, knowing that collaboration is what’s best for the patient," said Dr. Morrill."