Team Healthcare

Photo Credit: John Carmody, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Hospital Hill Campus interprofessional education class activity focused on patient safety

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to a 2013 study. Better teamwork is a way to ensure the safety of patients — and University of Missouri-Kansas City health professions educators are leading that charge.

“As healthcare providers in this country, we don’t always do a great job at teamwork,” said Maqual Graham, director of applied therapeutics and applied skills and a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy.

Graham was one of 70 faculty and staff members leading massive synchronized classes of more than 560 students from the UMKC Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies, and Pharmacy. The activity held at the schools across the Hospital Hill Campus, as well as the School of Pharmacy at the University of Missouri in Columbia, marked the beginning of interprofessional education in the classroom for health professions students at UMKC.

Interprofessional education involves students from two or more disciplines learning together, with the mission of cultivating collaborative practice to provide patient-centered care. During the class, pre-assigned groups of students from seven disciplines — dentistry, dental hygiene, medicine, physician assistant, nursing, graduate nursing and pharmacy — huddled up for small-group discussion. The groups were called IMPACT — Interprofessional Medical/Health Care Patient Advocacy and Care Teams.

Linda Garavalia, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy and one of the curricular organizers, passed out Life Savers to the students, who were dressed in a range of jeans and scrubs. Yes, the candy brand choice was intentional: interprofessional teamwork saves lives.

While interprofessional education is required by a number of accrediting boards, large-scale instructional activities are rare, making this instructional activity unique, Garavalia said. UMKC has been awarded interprofessional education grants for clinical experience but that involves a smaller number of students. This will add interprofessional education to classroom learning for a larger number of students.

Mary O’Neill, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing, has been part of the clinical-team grants made of faculty and students from UMKC’s Schools of Nursing and Health Studies, Pharmacy and Dentistry who care for patients at Hope Family Care Center, Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center and Kansas City CARE Clinic, where the UMKC School of Social Work also is part of the team.

During the interprofessional education class activity, O’Neill and her IMPACT reviewed case studies and recommended patient care plans. At the end of class, each student took a multiple-choice test.

“I think interprofessional education is important,” O’Neill said. “Our roles might be different but our mission is the same — to provide seamless patient care.”



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