Interprofessional Education Leads Students to Collaborative Careers – Writing
Nurses and social workers work together every day to care for patients, but the students who train for these professions rarely cross paths. The Morrison Family College of Health St. At Thomas University, that is changing thanks to a plan for integrated learning and teaching in the health disciplines.
Together, students Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing and School of Social Work file into a classroom in McNeely Hall. At the front of the class are Dr. Raney Linck, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, and George Baboila, clinical member of the School of Social Work faculty. The next few hours will be spent leading these students in lively discussion about culturally responsive care and the importance of professional collaboration to achieve better health outcomes for patients.
“A patient has many factors that can affect their care,” Linck said. “For example, they may have difficulty asking for help or need additional psychological support to deal with the physical trauma and to process what happened.”
How disconnects between providers can lead to underdiagnosed or undertreated conditions is a clue that teachers want students to understand, especially given that these problems are exacerbated among members of underserved populations who may miss or refuse care due to multiple race-related factors. , location and income.
“Combining social work and nursing classes teaches students to understand the patient as a whole person,” Linck said.
In this course, “students learn how medical providers, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals work together on a person’s overall health, so we all work as a team at the center with the patient. ”, said Babila. As students learn, “it’s more than placement, it’s integration, so the nurse and the social worker and the provider are working with the patient on the floor.”
Many students say that they see the value of each other’s work when they participate in this course, and they also express their excitement about this opportunity to learn together with future collaborators.
“It’s really cool to bring the social work and nursing classes together to dive in and learn more about some of the intersections of health,” said Olivia de Grace, an MSN student who is learning about the positions a social worker can serve. attention to the whole person.
For example, while de Grace treats the immediate effects of a patient’s hunger and malnutrition, a social worker can provide the patient with resources to access food.
“We can talk about interprofessional collaboration with bullet points and PowerPoint presentations, or we can get in a room together and do it,” said Linck, who teaches a graduate nursing course on whole-person wellness. When she came across Baboila’s graduate clinical social work curriculum in behavioral health, she immediately saw opportunities for collaboration.
“It may be a different lens that we look through, but we’re still trying to achieve the same kinds of goals with our patients,” Baboila said.
In one session, nursing and social work students were tasked with taking on a patient. Separately, the two groups analyzed the following details: What questions should be asked? How should a thorough holistic assessment of this person be carried out? What are the most important factors to focus on? The groups then met to discuss their approaches and explore similarities and differences.
“We were assigned to write a bio-psycho-sociocultural assessment for a case study, using our assessment skills and the concept of the whole person,” said Deqa Yusuf, MSW student. “I noticed that the nurses were focused on the biological causes of the dysfunction and the social workers were focused on the psychological aspects. I also realized that both areas can better serve patients by providing a well-rounded, patient-centered approach.’
Yusuf said the class is very beneficial for social workers and nursing students because it allows them to interact, get to know each other and build relationships. “As social workers, we are learning and collaborating with nurses to better understand each other’s roles, skills and expectations,” added Yusuf. “I didn’t realize (before this class) how similar social workers and nurses are in their practice of meeting the needs of patients.”
This is one of the many goals of the program that translates into real-life practice.
“We are always looking for ways to improve interprofessional collaboration in terms of education, as well as future practice,” Linck said. “That starts with education. We are getting them to talk to each other. As we move towards a more decentralized healthcare system, we must also ensure that our patients and their families do not fall through the cracks.’