During the spring 2019 semester, several faculty members in the College of Health and Human Services held Interprofessional Educational activities for student clinicians in the Unified Clinics. The goal of these events is to promote interprofessional collaborative practice in health care by demonstrating how to work with individuals from other professions, understanding the scope of practice of each health profession and learning how to communicate with patients who have disabilities and with other professionals.
In March, twenty students in Speech Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, and Social Work met for an interprofesional team meeting in March facilitated by the Unified Clinics faculty. Students were paired to discuss the clinical work they have been providing for individual patients at the clinics. The meeting provided the opportunity for students to collaboratively update goals and outcomes for patients seen by two disciplines. Other students gained knowledge about the scope of practice of the different disciplines by discussing their treatment goals of a current patient. For example, if a patient has trouble swallowing, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists could work together to figure out what the issue/problem is and recommend treatment for the patient while they learn from each others disciplines. This session was facilitated by Robin Pollens, Clinical Supervisor, Aphasia Communication Enhancement Program, and Kim Talmage, Occupational Therapy Clinical Supervisor.
One speech-language pathology student commented, "I learned that even without communicating, SLPs and OTs are commonly working on goals that go together".
A second IPE activity was planned for the Physician Assistant students for March and April in the Charles Van Riper Language, Speech and Hearing Clinic. Participants from this event included first year graduate Speech-Language Pathology students, Physician Assistant students and some patient volunteers. This event was led by the Speech Language Pathology faculty at the Unified Clinics including Dr. Suma Devanga (Assistant Professor and Clinic supervisor of Speech-Language Pathology), Ms. Elizabeth Nagler (Clinic supervisor of Speech-Language Pathology) and Ms. Katherine Rigley (Clinic co-ordinator of Speech-Language Pathology).
This experience has shown to be a great learning opportunity for students to build on current knowledge which will enable them to work in such teams in the future resulting in improved healthcare outcomes for their patients.