The Impact of IMPACT Practice®: one faculty member’s reaction

Continuing and Professional Development Blog

February 2017

Question:  What’s an effective way for health professions faculty to appreciate the power and importance of interprofessional education and development?

Answer:   Watch and contribute to an interprofessional student team’s first patient-centered interview.

Facilitating and debriefing a simulated patient encounter is probably common for many health professions educators today.  But when I watched my student team:  nursing, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, physical therapy, and physician assistant students, perform a group interview with a simulated patient and his care attendant, I was struck by their attention to the patient AND to each other, their team members.  They are learning together, about each other as persons and professionals, about each other’s professional roles and expertise, and about how they can work as a team: with respect, flexibility, and a real interest in what they each bring to the patient encounter.  Immediately after the session, they are eager to share their individual experiences when debriefing the simulated encounter: “What happened when he said this? How could I have asked this question? When did you want to jump in? Was I asking the same question that you were?”

Two weeks later, over lunch, when we debrief the experience again, the reflections are deeper and the focus has shifted from the individual to the group experience of talking to and caring for a patient. My students are talking about what it feels like to share responsibilities for patient care across their professions, how being a team member as a learner is translating into their views of themselves as team-based care providers.  I am so impressed with the maturity with which they are approaching their learning, with a shared mission of placing the patient and family at the center of their individual education programs.

I could not impart these lessons, ideas, wisdom to faculty with the same authenticity as comes from listening to students learning together.  What better way to develop faculty who teach and practice with a focus on the value of a diverse, interprofessional team with shared competencies and patient-centered purpose.