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Interprofessional Voices: The Story Within the Story

2nd Annual Arizona Nexus Interprofessional Conference

The conference theme, Interprofessional Voices, focused on storytelling and narrative as teaching and learning methods for interprofessional education and team-based care.

The 2nd Annual AZ Nexus Conference, held in November 2019, was sponsored by the Arizona Nexus and hosted by Midwestern University on its Glendale, Arizona campus. For two days, attendees came together to learn, network and collaborate.

The practical application of storytelling kicked off as conference attendees were invited to:

  • Apply active listening strategies such as short silences and social curiosity to an interview with another health care professional.
  • Describe how an interprofessional transitional care team can cultivate a robust understanding of each patient’s narrative and use this to improve patient care.
  • Explain how patient narratives and team member narratives contribute to effective learning for clinicians in training, and others on the health care team.

These objectives were explored through a variety of workshops. Topics ranged from using medical improvisation to help with communication, led by instructors from the Phoenix Theater Company, to storytelling and the sharing of narratives and how this approach helps patients and care providers.

A Place at the Table for Every Person and Every Profession

AZ Nexus interprofessional conference 2019The theme, Interprofessional Voices, not only focused on narrative and storytelling as a teaching and learning method in healthcare, but also included the voices of every person on a care team – patient, clinical, administrative, professional and academic.

One participant offered: 

“I have a humanities degree and always felt out of place or not worthy enough to be around clinical professions in conference settings, it can be quite intimidating for sure, but I know I had perspectives that could help in healthcare. After hearing other profession’s stories and experiences, I really felt like I had a place at the table, I felt like I belonged.”

During each of the seven workshops presented, conference attendees from a variety of professions shared their unique perspective and their own story.

Conference Co-Chair Barbara Maxwell talked about opportunities at the AZ Nexus annual conference, saying:

“The conference is a real opportunity, as we’ve seen by who is attending, to draw different people, it’s like the lifeblood of the Nexus. People have opportunities to know who we are, see what we do and how we connect. A conference like this brings likeminded people together who share a vision on what it is to collaborate, and this is an opportunity to open the doors.”

Telling the story digitally

Storytelling and the power of narrative comes in a variety of formats. We see it every day in social media, books, lectures, movies, magazines, or just having a cup of coffee and talking with a friend.

In the spirit of the conference’s focus on storytelling, we’ve captured highlights and quotes in a digital story. Hear from attendees and organizers as they share their most impactful impressions and takeaways from the conference.


By the Numbers

The November 2019 conference welcomed over 50 members of the Nexus and kicked off with keynotes from the Mayo Clinic Center for Humanities and from the Creighton University School of Medicine. 

AZ Nexus interprofessional conference 2019

During the poster presentation session, 49 contributors participated in 13 posters that covered topics ranging from approaches for interprofessional student learning experiences to the integration of interprofessional competencies into healthcare disciplines. 

The conference was approved for 11 hours of continuing education (CE) for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, fellows, residents, students, and other healthcare providers.

Get Involved – Join the AZ Nexus!

The Arizona Nexus is a member of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education (NCIPE) Nexus Innovations Network and a statewide collaborative of public and private universities and health care organizations in Arizona.

Currently, the Arizona Nexus members meet quarterly to discuss local topics in IPE together as a learning community and hear from members about their issues, triumphs, and what is happening on the national scene.  

Every year, the members of the AZ Nexus celebrate the collaboration among its members and work together to offer the annual conference, which is open to the public.

As the 2nd Annual AZ Nexus Conference came to a close, conference co-chair, Erin Appelt reflected:

“My greatest hope in hosting the conference is for people to walk away with a sense that this is a community of people who want to stay in touch and learn from one another. The AZ Nexus has given me a sense of professional identity… I have interprofessional professionals I can interact with. There is so much value in us all being together, face to face and so I hope there is enthusiasm to keep this event going.” 

Visit the Arizona Nexus on the CAIPER website to learn more and get involved.

Stay connected by following members of the AZ Nexus on social media, including CAIPER on Twitter and Facebook. For more information, questions, or if you have ideas, we'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to us.

2019 conference planning and supporting partners included the AZ Nexus IPE, Creighton University Center for Interprofessional Practice, Education, and Research, A.T. Still University, the Arizona State University Center for Advancing Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (CAIPER), and Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.


About the Author

Jody SteehlerJody Steehler is the Communications Program Coordinator for CAIPER, and the Editor of the CAIPER Blog. She has been working with interprofessional education, health care and vulnerable populations since 2012. With past experience working with homeless families and veterans, she is passionate about how high-needs communities and their health care teams can be supported by interprofessional education and collaborative practice.


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