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Creating Synergies: Connecting Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research

As our Teaming at a Distance series continues, the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation's Interprofessional Guiding Coalition returns with lessons in integrating Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research into programs and colleges across ASU...

Every meeting of the IP Guiding Coalition (GC) at Edson College is a voyage of insights into opportunities to connect interprofessional practice, education and research. As GC members talk about courses and curricula, simulation, community service-learning programs, community partnerships and research programs, “connects” between all aspects of interprofessional collaboration are happening. Here’s a snapshot of connections happening in real time.  

Now is the Time

While the first half of 2020 has brought unimaginable challenges, it has also brought great opportunities, especially for integrating and elevating interprofessional initiatives in classrooms, clinical learning environments (CLEs), research, and partnerships across ASU and beyond.

Liz Harrell, assistant clinical professor and Director of the Student Health Outreach for Wellness Program (SHOW), a service learning program for multiple health professions, shared with excitement that SHOW has been invited to partner with the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education in its new research initiatives.

“As a partner with the National Center, SHOW will have the opportunity to inform exciting work on             interprofessional practice competency attainment, patient satisfaction, interprofessional practice environment supports, and barriers in the education and delivery of team-based care in community settings.”

Picking up on the huge potential to engage students in research-forward interprofessional activities, Megan Petrov, assistant professor and the GC’s representative of Edson’s Research Faculty, shared:

With all the changes going on, I’m trying to engage all my students- from nursing and many other disciplines and professions- in a way that we can still communicate and conduct meaningful research. We need these conversations to expand telehealth and tele-education in our research too.”

Gerri Lamb, the Founding Director of Edson’s Center for Advancing Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (CAIPER), jumped in:

“What if we built on SHOW’s experience with the National Center and explored how to use nationally endorsed measures for learning and clinical outcomes in our curriculum and look for how they align with the goals of our research grants?”

Pivoting to Practice

The conversation turned to simulation and the mind-boggling acceleration of virtual education in the face of COVID-19. Margaret Calacci, clinical associate professor and Director for the Grace Center for Innovation and Nursing Education, knows a thing or two about pivoting after transitioning a hands-on simulation center for nursing students to an online learning experience in literally a matter of days. She shared the recent success on introducing new virtual interprofessional simulations and advised:

“I think it’s important to work together on a shared set of interprofessional program outcomes. They can serve as a unifying foundation for our interprofessional curriculum – with lots of implications for our educational process and research.”

These implications suggest engaging students within and across all Edson programs in diverse experiences that contribute value to their readiness for practice through a wide-range of hands-on learning situated in practice, education and research. Aliria Rascón, Assistant Director of the Global Health Collaboratory, emphasized:

“During this time when all of these major things are happening across Arizona State University (ASU), we need to put our attention and energy to action. We need to go big.”

Connecting interprofessional practice and education

Integrating Synergies

Continuing on the theme of shared foundations for interprofessional initiatives, GC members talked about the good fit between Edson’s interprofessional culture and diverse faculty, student, staff and clinical community and ability to experiment with synergies across practice, education and research. Having this emerge organically from current initiatives, faculty priorities, student needs, and rapid changes in our teaching, practice, and research environments due to COVID-19 make great sense. 

Karen Saewert, clinical professor, and co-facilitator of the GC reflected:

Each of the changes we’re experiencing – and the ones to come – suggest major opportunities to integrate what we’re learning and anticipating about interprofessional practice, education and research to advance in all areas more effectively and efficiently.”

Clinical professor and Edson Director of Academic-Practice Partnerships, Melanie Brewer, also identified that:

Through collaboration with our clinical partners, we have the opportunity to test new models of interprofessional teamwork to meet the ever-changing needs related to optimizing patient outcomes and decreasing workforce challenges.

What’s next for Edson’s Interprofessional Guiding Coalition?

Members are working to identify ways to make the connections in interprofessional practice, education and research meaningful and useful for all members of the Edson and ASU community. Stay tuned for the next GC blog!

Join the Conversation

Our Teaming at a Distance series features guest posts with stories from the field. If you would like to contribute, please email your thoughts and ideas to caiper@asu.edu. Check the CAIPER Blog or sign- up for email updates to see the latest articles.

About the Authors

This article was collaboratively written with all members of the Edson College Interprofessional Guiding Coalition contributing.

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