Introductory Interprofessional Practice and Education Exercise Builds Understanding
Students examine healthcare roles and responsibilities to consider distinct, as well as overlapping, scopes of practice.
More than 550 students gathered from across our Worcester and Manchester campuses on Friday, Oct. 21, for an introductory interprofessional practice and education (IPE) exercise. Students examined healthcare roles and responsibilities to consider distinct, as well as overlapping, scopes of practice for acupuncturists, dental hygienists, diagnostic medical sonographers, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists, and physician assistants.
“Interprofessional collaborative practice is essential for optimal patient care,” said Kaelen Dunican, PharmD, Assistant Dean of Interprofessional Education and Professor of Pharmacy Practice. “For healthcare students to engage in interprofessional collaboration as future healthcare professionals, they must first learn about, from, and with each other to fully understand the roles and responsibilities of their colleagues.”
The event included ice breakers, speakers, small-group discussions, and trivia-style games. Students sat around tables throughout the session, forming teams. Each team was first asked to find one thing that every member had in common. Answers included a shared love of travel, ice cream, hiking, and a need for more naps and coffee. In addition to focusing on what makes us similar, conversations aimed to point out each field’s unique contribution to healthcare.
Event volunteer Duncan Baxter, PharmD ‘23, explained, “It’s important to know early on what other healthcare professionals are responsible for and what they’re capable of so we can work together for the best patient care.”
When asked at the end what surprised them most, several students volunteered that they were impressed by the scope of many of the other medical fields. They were also surprised how much they all had in common. Students were encouraged that IPE will be a pillar of their education and that team-based care is now standard in healthcare.