Interprofessional education (IPE) is becoming increasingly important in higher education, with the goal of improving patient’s quality of care. The World Health Organization goes on to define IPE as students from two or more professions coming together to learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve outcomes. Nursing students and Occupational Therapy students participated in two interprofessional experiences on the University of Oklahoma Tulsa Schusterman Center Campus.
Students first learned about the effects of poverty through an interprofessional poverty simulation. Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families. Unless you have experienced poverty, it is difficulty to truly understand. During the simulation, students role-play several weeks in poverty and experience low-income families’ lives. The stories are based on the stories of real life people, from single parents trying to care for their children, to senior citizens trying to maintain their self-sufficiency on Social Security.
The second half of the IPE experience was spent learning about each professional’s distinct role on the health care team and working together to problem solve numerous complex health care scenarios using simulation mannequins. For example, students learned how to assist a patient with weight baring restrictions and complex medical needs such as a trachea, ventilator and feeding tube stand and participate in self-care activities. These experiences helped students in developing interprofessional skills, such as communication, collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and understanding other professional roles.