Interprofessional education pioneer Madeline Schmitt, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, nursing professor emerita at the University of Rochester in New York and a founding board member of the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative, has focused on processes and outcomes of teamwork in healthcare and IPE since the 1970s. She shares her insight on ways healthcare professionals can collaborate more closely.
Q: How does being educated with other health professionals benefit nursing students?
A: Once nursing students graduate they will be working interprofessionally with many others. We expect them to be good team players, but we have limited ways that we prepare students for this kind of practice. They need to have teamwork skills and know how to work in teams. Nurses use teamwork skills all the time in every situation where we practice.
Q: How are schools overcoming obstacles to creating and sustaining interprofessional education programs in the U.S.?
A: Were learning from educational leaders that logistical issues, such as scheduling, can and are being overcome in many places. However, a lot of nursing education occurs where there are no other health professions educational collaborators, such as in isolated nursing education programs. There are good examples across the country of programs reaching out beyond institutional walls to create effective interprofessional education.
Q: What are some things a good interprofessional education program requires?
A: The development of excellent teamwork skills, an understanding of the importance of teamwork to good patient care and the experience of working with other healthcare professionals. Not just classroom learning but simulation and on-the-ground experiences of working with other healthcare professionals who are not nurses learning about other healthcare professionals and delivering care together. It has to be core to the educational process.
Q: What recent events make you hopeful interprofessional education will be implemented on a widespread basis?
A: One is the creation of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, https://nexusipe.org, a comprehensive resource for all in this area. Another is the publication of the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative, a group representing six healthcare professions. A third is the Institute of Medicine forum held for the past three years on innovations in health professions education, built on two reports. One of those is The Future of Nursing. Interprofessional education has been central to that forum, and many nursing leaders are at that table.
For more information on interprofessional education, visit www.Nurse.com/Interprofessional-Education.