Students participate in interprofessional simulation at CHHS

PA student examines a patient while OT and speech pathology students observe

On Nov. 20, students in the occupational therapy, physician assistant and speech pathology programs participated in an interprofessional simulation at the College of Health and Human Services.

Standardized patients were used to simulate stroke survivors for this simulation. Our new physical therapy faculty participated to demonstrate the role of their discipline in such situations, and we hope to incorporate their students in the future.

Simulation is common in health care disciplines to help prepare students to work in clinical situations with actual clients. Simulation activities provide learners with the opportunity to be immersed in a clinical experience where they assume the role of the healthcare provider, are required to perform assessments and deliver care within a safe, supervised setting without risk to an actual client. It promotes critical thinking, decision making and requires a deeper understanding of the content learned in the traditional classroom.

Students observe PT faculty in action

Programs in the College of Health and Human Services often have interdisciplinary simulations to more closely approximate realistic health care situations.

"We strive to spend as much time in the reflection as we do in the simulation to help the students understand and grow from what they experienced with the patient," says Dr. Debra Lindstrom, professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. "The debriefing questions are carefully chosen to help the students think through the experience and then to compare the various disciplines' perspectives about their own and others' roles with the patient."

In interprofessional simulations like these, when questions are asked, students from all of the disciplines are queried. This helps students critically think about their own role and the roles of other team members with this patient.

"Significant learning occurs through discussion and reflection during debriefing." according to Lindstrom.

Dr. Carla Chase with a group of students in one of the debriefing rooms.