IPEP Conference explores campus collaboration opportunities
Waldron College of Health and Human Services (WCHHS) and the School of Nursing hosted the first Interprofessional Education and Practice Conference (IPEP) March 22 to explore ways of deepening collaborative teaching and learning at Radford.
Almost 30 students and faculty from the WCHHS and the Colleges of Science and Technology and Humanities and Behavioral Sciences discussed interdisciplinary educational opportunities and professional teamwork. Dr. Alan Dow, M.D., professor of health administration and assistant vice president of health sciences for interprofessional education and collaborative care at VCU, keynoted the conference, titled "Creating a Culture of Interprofessional Education and Practice."
During his remarks, titled "Building the Team Society Needs," Dow recounted how team care in the medical fields is part of the ongoing movement to maximize quality and safety.
“As the patient moves from place to place in the health care system, there are a lot of professionals looking at his care, ”Dow said. “We are learning about our profession as well as those of the colleagues with whom we work. The key word is ‘with.'”
WCHHS Dean Ken Cox opened the daylong conference that included collaborative exercises and a session with Nursing Professor Pam Parsons of the VCU Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care. Parsons detailed the activities of VCU student health care providers and how they gain clinical experience in Richmond and collaboratively learn to practice with colleagues form other disciplines throughout their educations.
“Interprofessional education and practice is the way that we can promote our students’ growth and fully prepare them for the modern health care environment in which they will be working for patients as part of teams dealing with complex issues,” said Assistant Professor of Nursing Victoria Bierman, coordinator of the conference.
The work done by students from the Schools of Nursing and Social Work and colleagues from occupational therapy, physical therapy and health education are now doing in support of the Pulaski Free Clinic was reviewed as one example of the ways Radford is adopting collaborative professional education.
“In the field, students from six disciplines are now working in their disciplines with colleagues from other disciplines to serve patients,” Bierman said.
The event was part of a series of WCHHS programs focused on improving regional health care, funded by a $750,000 Advanced Nursing Education Grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Entitled "CARE: Collaboration, Awareness, Resources and Education,” the grant has led to creation of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) consortium within the WCHHS to enhance interdisciplinary work among the college's various specialties.