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St. Catherine University partners with Carondelet Village to launch Interprofessional Education Project

Students embark on the Interprofessional Education Project developed by Carondelet Village and St. Catherine University in January.
Students embark on the Interprofessional Education Project developed by Carondelet Village and St. Catherine University in January.
Photo by Melissa Kaelin.

In an innovative collaboration between St. Catherine University and Carondelet Village, students in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health will work on interprofessional teams to maximize the health and well-being of older adults residing in Carondelet Village.

An exercise in interprofessional education

According to the World Health Organization, interprofessional education is when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. 

The Interprofessional Education Project (IPE), which began on Jan. 7, 2013, and convened a faculty panel on interprofessional healthcare on Jan. 8, 2013, will run through May. It will give students from St. Kate's and the University of St. Thomas didactic content on interprofessional education and 50 hours of clinical experience on interprofessional teams.

Under the guidance of a clinical mentor from Carondelet Village and a faculty mentor from the student’s academic program, each student will work on a team to assist one resident, or elder teacher, of Carondelet Village.

“We have established a flexible concept of teacher and learner, and believe that the residents have much to teach the students, faculty and staff about the experience of being an older adult. In alignment with this principle, we have asked residents to serve as ‘elder teachers,'" said Georgia Lane, of Carondelet Village. Lane is one of three project coordinators, working alongside Associate Professor Karen Sames, MBA, OTR/L, FAOTA, and Associate Dean Rebecca McGill, RN, MAOL '94.

Students will review the elder teachers’ health status, discuss treatment plans and find new ways to optimize the elder teacher’s health, independence and vitality.

Both undergraduate and graduate students are participating in the project. They represent six healthcare disciplines, including baccalaureate nursing, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy and social work.

Innovation in the making

Carondelet Village reflects a new vision for older adult living by offering a continuum of care that promotes vital living. Carondelet Village offers independent apartments, assisted living, memory care apartments and care center suites. Individuals living in the community are also served through Carondelet Circle.

“We intend that this project will contribute not only to students learning, but also to the quality of care our residents receive,” said Lane. “We also hope this will be a meaningful learning opportunity for Carondelet Village staff, as we work toward increased knowledge on building effective interprofessional teams in our workplace.”

The project is part of broader collaboration efforts between Carondelet Village and St. Catherine University. 

The Henrietta Schmoll School of Health and Carondelet Village convened a Clinical Education Task force in the fall of 2011 to establish goals and guiding principles. 

The two overarching goals for this collaboration are:

  1. To establish an interprofessional student and faculty practice within Carondelet Village that meets the needs of the resident, promotes learning, and focuses on connections and strong relationships, and
  2. To establish an effective process for requesting and matching regular clinical placement opportunities on a semester by semester basis that facilitates learning and adds value to the resident experience.

Collaborating among healthcare fields

Using Enquiry-Based Learning, the IPE project will give students experience working collaboratively in interprofessional groups to seek solutions to real-world problems. Each student in the program will be challenged to integrate contributions from different healthcare professions to improve health outcomes. 

For example, one team unites students from occupational therapy, social work and the nurse practitioner program, while another joins students from physical therapy, occupational therapy and the physician assistant program.

After an initial two-week training program, students will work with faculty mentors, clinical mentors and elder teachers to discover the benefits of interprofessional healthcare.

Students will reflect and record their experience throughout the project, then participate in two panel presentations describing their interprofessional experience and the implementation of Enquiry-Based Learning. The presentations will be given on Feb. 14, 2013, and May 9, 2013, at Carondelet Village.

More information

Carondelet Village is a shared ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province, and Presbyterian Homes and Services, offering senior apartments, assisted living, memory care and more. The mission of Carondelet Village is to enrich the lives of older adults through a faith-based setting that respects diversity of faith and culture and honors the dignity of all.

The Henrietta Schmoll School of Health at St. Catherine University educates diverse learners and engages clinical and community partners to influence health, health systems and health policy. The School is distinguished by an emphasis on relationship-centered care, socially responsible leadership and interdisciplinary initiatives.

Jan. 14, 2013 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Healthcare, Social Justice, Students