From the Gazette: Collaborative class helps health-care students learn to lean on teams

Patients are in pain, machines are buzzing and alarms are going off. Families are upset, shifts are changing and information is quickly exchanged amid the chaos. It’s the kind of situation health professions often find themselves in, and one where medical errors easily can occur.

In “Interprofessional Teamwork and Communication: Keys to Patient Safety,” Carolina’s nursing, medical and pharmacy students are given a chance to practice how they’ll work as a team in clinical situations like this to keep patients from harm.

Through simulated patient settings, the students use mannequins and role-playing exercises as they learn to value the collective expertise of the different professions involved in patient care, said Carol Durham, clinical professor of nursing, who helps lead the class.

If that mutual respect gets lost in translation, it could be the patient who loses.

“It’s important that these students understand the prevalence of medical and health-care errors and that they have to be part of the solution,” Durham said. “Most of them will work in situations where they have someone from the other professions on their team, and it makes sense to have them rehearse that.”

Kelly Scolaro, director of the Pharmaceutical Care Laboratory at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Benny Joyner, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine, join Durham in leading the class.

“We three have a passion about working together,” Durham said. “We’re modeling for the students the kinds of interactions they’ll have from the very first day of work.”

Read the full story at the University Gazette's website

Filed under: