Another (Baby) Day at The Institute

Oct 1, 2012

Oh Baby! Friday, September 27 was another landmark day for the entry level graduate students at the Institute. The Institute’s annual Baby Day was held for the first time at our newest facility at 2 Constitution Center. Started several years ago by great leaders in the Department of Physical Therapy, Baby Day has become a true interprofessional learning adventure for many, many students. Having the new facility allows more babies and more students and faculty to participate.

Baby Day involves inviting parents to bring in infants and toddlers for observation/assessment and interaction with our students in Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology. For many entry level students (most began their studies less than a month ago), this is a first exposure to typical children and their parents. Watching them crawl, talk, roll over, cry, interact with parents, and explore the environment are fundamental features for assessment of health, development, communication, and motor skills.

Dr. Laura Plummer (SHRS, PT) is responsible for the overall organization of the event, which involves over 150 students, faculty, clinical instructors, and plenty of children and their families. The story as I tell it, reads back to me “another nice thing that the IHP does, “ but doesn’t read as “breakthrough or earth shattering.” It is the back story and the experience that gets my attention and I hope you will think about it.

The Institute works hard to create an interprofessional narrative and to talk about the ways that our students can (must?) learn together and that our faculty must learn to teach together and to teach across disciplinary boundaries. Last month we offered the first ever community service day, allowing students to work side by side to help out the neighborhoods closest to our school. This past Friday, walking around the learning spaces at 2 CC, here is what I observed:

Interdisciplinary groups of students huddled together in groups of 15 or so, sitting on the floor, and watching faculty members and Clinical Educators interact with little children;

  • Students focused, almost laser focused, on observing, documenting, and clarifying what they were learning in a completely safe, IPE environment;
  • Faculty members giving up a Friday morning to provide an integrated learning experience for students from all of our programs;
  • These same faculty members teaching students by asking for observations and interpretations;
  • Most impressive, faculty members from one discipline, informing students from other programs about key observations that they make for purposes of referral or enhancing their own practice.
  • Happy parents watching their child interact with a group of remarkable students; and gaining confidence in the next generation of providers of care.

Baby Day was a great day. It was fun and rewarding to see the activities, the teaching, and the learning that was being accomplished in this most impressive space. Our graduate students at the Institute are experiencing a truly remarkable opportunity and this will continue to expand and grow

Opportunities such as Baby Day, the Community Service Day, and our upcoming Interdisciplinary Lecture occur because faculty leaders choose to go the extra mile to make vital learning work well at the IHP. All I can say is THANK YOU to Anne and to all who made this happen. And also I say, “Oh Baby.”



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