Part II: What Impact Means To the IHP
In my last post I described the IMPACT program. Anyone who has been at the IHP for the past two semesters has certainly heard of IMPACT and what we are trying to accomplish. This interprofessional set of experiences for our students, clustered under this new logo, is providing a fresh and welcomed approach to our long time commitment to interprofessional education.
For the IHP community, and the larger community, this new image and new set of activities is designed to impact all of us by imprinting within our lexicon and within our day to day teaching and learning a highly principled approach to our practice. Our long standing discourse about "working together" has taken on a new level of commitment that is far reaching.
For our newest students, IMPACT means that they were being approached (electronically) about interprofessional issues prior to their arrival on campus. Their enrollment in the new HP course assured that from day one they were exposed to this new hybrid curriculum as the centerpiece for the development of their new professional choice as a nurse, nurse practitioner, physical therapist, or speech-language pathologist. Next year, occupational therapists and then physician assistants will join the mix. Every new student, assigned to an online group of 10 colleagues from diverse backgrounds and disciplines will have the chance to work together to develop knowledge and skills in leadership, communication, patient focused care, and ethics. As a kickoff this year, over 260 new students joined IHP faculty and staff in providing community service all over Charlestown and beyond on Friday August 20.
A week later, these same entry level students participated in the Institute's Annual Infant Development Day organized by the Physical Therapy Department. This event, now in its 17th year provides the opportunity for entry level students to interact with typically developing children and their families, while learning to assess/observe motor, cognitive, language, and social development in very young children. This hands on interprofessional experience is one that students find enjoyable and memorable. I should add that it's one that their faculty members find exhausting!
Beyond this focus on first year students, the discussion that has begun has brought faculty members together, has generated discussions with colleagues from the Boston Architectural College and the Harvard Medical School about the future of health care education.
In addition to our core values in diversity and in quality education, this area of interprofessionalism is emerging as both essential and distinctive in the IHP experience. While the IMPACT curriculum is the central mark of the IPE student experience, the "impact" goes well beyond this curricular focus. Examples of the IHP interprofessional focus are seen in our Interprofessional Dedicated Units at Mass General Hospital (increasing to two this year), participation by our NP students in the Crimson Care program with HMS students, the interdisciplinary grand rounds conducted by SHRS, monthly Schwartz Rounds for compassionate care, our own IHI chapter which has representation from several disciplines, and on and on. Faculty members are busy planning multidisciplinary global travel and education experiences and research projects.
Out distinctiveness will be seen and felt in our unique ability to produce remarkable new professionals who can practice "at the top of their professional license" while working with individuals from all health disciplines in putting the patient front and center. That's the impact of IMPACT.