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Doctors, nurses teaming up to improve care for patients

HSD-teamwork

Loyola University Chicago is challenging the old practice of medicine where the physician is in charge and manages a patient with little input from nurses or other health-care professionals.

More than 250 Loyola medical and nursing students gathered in March for an Interprofessional Education Day on Loyola’s Health Sciences Campus to learn how to work as a team to deliver safe and effective care for patients.

“The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Stritch School of Medicine are taking a progressive approach to teaching by educating medical and nursing students together,” said Linda Cassata, PhD, RN, associate dean for the undergraduate program at the School of Nursing. “Stressing the importance of interprofessional skills and teamwork will improve the quality of health care.”

Third-year medical students, senior undergraduate nursing students, and accelerated bachelor’s nursing students had lively discussions that were facilitated by faculty from both schools. Video clips illustrated interprofessional competencies, including values and ethics for interprofessional practice; roles and responsibilities; interprofessional communication; and teams and teamwork.

“This was one of the more engaging sessions of the year, which helped me better understand nurses,” said third-year medical student Greg Eisinger. “I thought it was valuable to talk with the nursing students about what they do and to get their perspective on the communications issues between physicians and nurses.”

The workshop also allowed students to witness similarities in their disciplines and to see how working together can reduce medical errors.

“It was refreshing to learn how similar the medical and nursing professions are and that fostering communication can have a positive impact on patients,” said senior nursing student Christine Ninchich. “You reduce the risk of mistakes when everyone has a voice in patient care.”

Loyola offers ongoing, small-group interprofessional education for nursing and medical students to participate in simulated patient experiences in Loyola’s Center for Simulation Education. This facility includes a clinical simulation center with a six-bed virtual hospital and home-care environment where teams of students learn together how to better care for patients.

“We are beginning to see more multidisciplinary clinics in hospitals and outpatient settings, so education must prepare our students for this shift,” said Michael Koller, MD, assistant dean for educational affairs at the Stritch School of Medicine. “Loyola’s program is unique in that it has tremendous support of both faculties and a medical and nursing school that are located in close proximity to each other making interprofessional education possible.” 

Learn more at the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Stritch School of Medicine websites.