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4 Strategies to Uplevel Your Interprofessional Education Curriculum

by  Daniel Weberg     Jun 1, 2022
4StrategiestoUplevelYourInterprofessionalEducationCurriculum_blog_1200w630h

Interprofessional education (IPE) is now the cornerstone of how to build the future of healthcare education. It is no longer acceptable to educate nurses, physicians, and other health professionals in silos. Healthcare is a complex system, and to thrive in a complex system, teams must form and work well together to support the high acuity, complex, and ever-changing environment. There is an opportunity to challenge how IPE is traditionally executed. Largely, IPE has been paper-based case studies or half-day sessions where unprepared students co-mingle together without really addressing the core issues facing teams in the professional setting. This article will provide a few tips for educators to consider taking their IPE curriculum to the next level.

 

Strategy 1: IPE is an act of culture change

Social media, blogs, volunteer experiences, and acquaintances have perpetuated stereotypes associated with becoming a healthcare professional. To build high-performing teams, educators need to break down those stereotypes and shift the narrative so that students value the healthcare team, not a single profession. Formal education is the time to address these underlying assumptions. Edgar Schein’s work on culture is a great framework to use when thinking about IPE. He suggested that culture was made up of Artifacts, Values, and Deep Assumptions. Artifacts are the physical representation of culture (posters on the wall, how people talk to each other, etc.) Values are the espoused beliefs of a group, and Deep Assumptions are the unconscious bias that drives decision-making. Educators can change the artifacts simply by the way they interact with other professions, speak about them, and describe their role. For example, by teaching IPE and the interaction between nursing and medical faculty is contentious, fake, or disorganized, students will mimic those behaviors in their group setting. Educators must act intentionally in every IPE interaction to change the values and deep assumptions that drive team dynamics in healthcare.

 

Strategy 2: Use an overarching learning framework for IPE

Many healthcare educators that teach IPE are familiar with the IPEC competencies or Professionalism, Role Clarity, Communication, and Teamwork. However, these competencies include many sub-competencies, and it quickly becomes a bit overwhelming. The University of Alberta in Canada has an amazing tool that can help educators put these competencies into action. They break IPE education into three buckets: Exposure, Immersion, and Competence. Exposure is exposing students from multiple professions to concepts of teams and IPE. Immersion is the building of shared activities in controlled settings like simulation labs and clinical experiences, and Competence is the assessment of teamwork and IPE competencies within a real uncontrolled clinical setting. Using this framework, educators can ensure IPE is more than a paper exercise that occurs once a year and embed IPE in every part of the curriculum from didactic to clinical.

 

Strategy 3: Think Beyond the Classroom

To build new cultures of teamwork between healthcare professions it’s important to expand beyond the four walls of a classroom or simulation center. At the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, educators look at IPE in three inter-related domains. First, students participate in team-based learning using adult learning principles. Second, the social environment allows students to get a deeper and more personal understanding of other professions through semi-structured social interactions. This can range from grand rounds and a social to wine nights, outings, or campus activities that encourage socialization. Students can learn the ‘why’ behind choosing one profession and casually dispel assumptions and bias without feeling forced in a classroom setting. Finally, the third domain is clinical experiences. IPE supports learning from, with, and about other students from different professions. Too many times curricula check the box of IPE by simply placing a nursing student to shadow a practicing physician. Work hard to allow student teams to work together in the setting so they can practice IPE skills before they graduate.

 

Strategy 4: Tackle the hard stuff

Again, referencing the culture change framework, it is important that faculty specifically address the hard conversations around IPE teams. Specifically focusing on the following can have impactful and lasting effects on how students learn and work together in the work setting.

Hard conversation topics to tackle

  1. Power dynamics between professions
  2. Underlying bias one profession might have about another
  3. Scope of practice overlap
  4. Patient choice/preference
  5. Leading and not leading
  6. What kills teamwork
 

By addressing these taboo topics while still in school, students will start to change their deep assumptions and create mental models that focus on building relationships based on fact and understanding rather than the hierarchy and past practices that have hurt clinical care. 

 

By thinking about IPE as an act of culture change healthcare educators can intentionally break down the barriers that lead to poor team dynamics, fragmented healthcare, and toxic work environments. When teams work together, patients benefit. Educators have an impactful role to change the game for IPE moving forward.

 

About the Author

Daniel Weberg, PhD, MHI, RN - Head of Clinical Innovation, Trusted Health, Nursing Faculty, The Ohio State University College of Nursing

Dan Weberg is a nurse leader and expert in human-centered patient design and simulation and healthcare innovation with extensive clinical experience in the emergency department, acute in-patient hospital settings, and academia over the past 10 years. Dan has held a variety of leadership roles, including nursing director, clinical faculty director, consultant, and has worked in settings such as direct nursing care in emergency departments, academic medical centers, large colleges of nursing, and private educational firms. Dan has extensive experience developing nursing technology strategy, collaborating with executive sponsors and key stakeholder groups, doing ground-up collaborating with frontline nursing and care delivery teams, and leading and influencing teams at the unit level, hospital-wide, and across health systems to lead and sustain innovative technology, informatics, and education change initiatives.

He earned his Bachelors in nursing and was in the first cohort to graduate from the Masters in Healthcare Innovation and PhD in Nursing and Healthcare Innovation Leadership from Arizona State University.  This makes Dan a chronic Sun Devil.  Dan’s clinical background is in Emergency and Trauma nursing at level 1 trauma centers in California and Arizona.  Dan is also faculty at Ohio State University College of Nursing and taught previously at Arizona State University in the subject of Innovation, Nursing, and Leadership.  

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4 Strategies to Uplevel Your Interprofessional Education Curriculum

by  Daniel Weberg     Jun 1, 2022
4StrategiestoUplevelYourInterprofessionalEducationCurriculum_blog_1200w630h

Interprofessional education (IPE) is now the cornerstone of how to build the future of healthcare education. It is no longer acceptable to educate nurses, physicians, and other health professionals in silos. Healthcare is a complex system, and to thrive in a complex system, teams must form and work well together to support the high acuity, complex, and ever-changing environment. There is an opportunity to challenge how IPE is traditionally executed. Largely, IPE has been paper-based case studies or half-day sessions where unprepared students co-mingle together without really addressing the core issues facing teams in the professional setting. This article will provide a few tips for educators to consider taking their IPE curriculum to the next level.

 

Strategy 1: IPE is an act of culture change

Social media, blogs, volunteer experiences, and acquaintances have perpetuated stereotypes associated with becoming a healthcare professional. To build high-performing teams, educators need to break down those stereotypes and shift the narrative so that students value the healthcare team, not a single profession. Formal education is the time to address these underlying assumptions. Edgar Schein’s work on culture is a great framework to use when thinking about IPE. He suggested that culture was made up of Artifacts, Values, and Deep Assumptions. Artifacts are the physical representation of culture (posters on the wall, how people talk to each other, etc.) Values are the espoused beliefs of a group, and Deep Assumptions are the unconscious bias that drives decision-making. Educators can change the artifacts simply by the way they interact with other professions, speak about them, and describe their role. For example, by teaching IPE and the interaction between nursing and medical faculty is contentious, fake, or disorganized, students will mimic those behaviors in their group setting. Educators must act intentionally in every IPE interaction to change the values and deep assumptions that drive team dynamics in healthcare.

 

Strategy 2: Use an overarching learning framework for IPE

Many healthcare educators that teach IPE are familiar with the IPEC competencies or Professionalism, Role Clarity, Communication, and Teamwork. However, these competencies include many sub-competencies, and it quickly becomes a bit overwhelming. The University of Alberta in Canada has an amazing tool that can help educators put these competencies into action. They break IPE education into three buckets: Exposure, Immersion, and Competence. Exposure is exposing students from multiple professions to concepts of teams and IPE. Immersion is the building of shared activities in controlled settings like simulation labs and clinical experiences, and Competence is the assessment of teamwork and IPE competencies within a real uncontrolled clinical setting. Using this framework, educators can ensure IPE is more than a paper exercise that occurs once a year and embed IPE in every part of the curriculum from didactic to clinical.

 

Strategy 3: Think Beyond the Classroom

To build new cultures of teamwork between healthcare professions it’s important to expand beyond the four walls of a classroom or simulation center. At the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, educators look at IPE in three inter-related domains. First, students participate in team-based learning using adult learning principles. Second, the social environment allows students to get a deeper and more personal understanding of other professions through semi-structured social interactions. This can range from grand rounds and a social to wine nights, outings, or campus activities that encourage socialization. Students can learn the ‘why’ behind choosing one profession and casually dispel assumptions and bias without feeling forced in a classroom setting. Finally, the third domain is clinical experiences. IPE supports learning from, with, and about other students from different professions. Too many times curricula check the box of IPE by simply placing a nursing student to shadow a practicing physician. Work hard to allow student teams to work together in the setting so they can practice IPE skills before they graduate.

 

Strategy 4: Tackle the hard stuff

Again, referencing the culture change framework, it is important that faculty specifically address the hard conversations around IPE teams. Specifically focusing on the following can have impactful and lasting effects on how students learn and work together in the work setting.

Hard conversation topics to tackle

  1. Power dynamics between professions
  2. Underlying bias one profession might have about another
  3. Scope of practice overlap
  4. Patient choice/preference
  5. Leading and not leading
  6. What kills teamwork
 

By addressing these taboo topics while still in school, students will start to change their deep assumptions and create mental models that focus on building relationships based on fact and understanding rather than the hierarchy and past practices that have hurt clinical care. 

 

By thinking about IPE as an act of culture change healthcare educators can intentionally break down the barriers that lead to poor team dynamics, fragmented healthcare, and toxic work environments. When teams work together, patients benefit. Educators have an impactful role to change the game for IPE moving forward.

 

About the Author

Daniel Weberg, PhD, MHI, RN - Head of Clinical Innovation, Trusted Health, Nursing Faculty, The Ohio State University College of Nursing

Dan Weberg is a nurse leader and expert in human-centered patient design and simulation and healthcare innovation with extensive clinical experience in the emergency department, acute in-patient hospital settings, and academia over the past 10 years. Dan has held a variety of leadership roles, including nursing director, clinical faculty director, consultant, and has worked in settings such as direct nursing care in emergency departments, academic medical centers, large colleges of nursing, and private educational firms. Dan has extensive experience developing nursing technology strategy, collaborating with executive sponsors and key stakeholder groups, doing ground-up collaborating with frontline nursing and care delivery teams, and leading and influencing teams at the unit level, hospital-wide, and across health systems to lead and sustain innovative technology, informatics, and education change initiatives.

He earned his Bachelors in nursing and was in the first cohort to graduate from the Masters in Healthcare Innovation and PhD in Nursing and Healthcare Innovation Leadership from Arizona State University.  This makes Dan a chronic Sun Devil.  Dan’s clinical background is in Emergency and Trauma nursing at level 1 trauma centers in California and Arizona.  Dan is also faculty at Ohio State University College of Nursing and taught previously at Arizona State University in the subject of Innovation, Nursing, and Leadership.  

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