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School of health begins new school year with new partnership

Exercise Science Professor Mark Blegen is among the interprofessional collaborators.
Exercise Science Professor Mark Blegen is among the interprofessional collaborators.
Pictured here in the University's WHIR Center.

Interprofessional education (IPE) launched full throttle in the halls of the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health (HSSH) as the new academic year got underway.

The first week of classes had barely begun when faculty, students and staff convened for the Allina Health Evidence-based Fellows Program.

The interprofessional education partnership with Allina Health is the second for the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health and has grown out of Allina Health’s support for the University’s Interprofessional Summit, an annual conference that brings together healthcare professionals from across Minnesota. The first IPE partnership was launched with North Memorial Medical Center’s clinical scholars program in 2012.

Building skills, building teams

A skills-building course in evidence-based practice (EBP), the Allina Health Evidence-based Fellows Program is an interprofessional program where “everyone learns, everyone teaches and each person brings new ideas and perspectives” to a team-based learning and working environment.

The data supporting teamwork’s effect on patient safety has been growing since the 1999 publication of “To Err is Human,” the Institute of Medicine report that brought to light the number of medical errors caused by dysfunctional or nonexistent teamwork. 

“Interprofessional” broadens the teamwork concept beyond interdisciplinary teams comprised primarily of healthcare professionals in delivering high quality, patient-centered care.

Both focus and emphasize team cooperation, coordination and collaboration, but members of an interprofessional teams could also include social workers or healthcare advocates, or even lawyers or chaplains in addition to healthcare practitioners.

“It could be someone from the patient’s parish,” said Penny Moyers, dean of the HSSH. “IPE helps us think differently about who should be on a team.” 

Allina Health began an Evidence-based Fellows program in 2008 to improve patient outcomes and enhance the professional practice environment.

“Nursing is both is a science and a profession and we believe our practice should be based on the best available evidence,” said Sue Sendelbach, Allina Health faculty member and EBP planner.  “EBP gives us a framework to translate research findings into practice.”

Interprofessional education is a key component of the HSSH’s strategy to transform healthcare by preparing students to be leaders with team-based clinical experience providing holistic, research-based patient-centered care.

“We can teach EPB in the classroom but our students need to be in a health care setting to get that clinical experience to understand the way in which practice really changes,” said Moyers.

Three IPE projects for 2013-14

St. Kate’s students and faculty will partner with healthcare professionals at Allina Health on three projects during the 2013-14 program:

1. “Does white noise in the critical care environment promote greater length and an increase in the quality of sleep in patients at risk for delirium?” Abbott Northwestern’s Medical/Surgical/Neuro Intensive Care Unit Nurse, Emma Fischer, has observed noise traffic in the ICU and is trying to find a distracting method of noise diversion for her neurological patients.

2. “Is suction needed to be placed to chest tubes after open heart surgery to ensure adequate drainage and for how long does there need to be negative suction prior to going to water seal?”  Cardiovascular Surgical ICU Nurse, Tamara Castanias, is the lead nurse on this project.

3. “What is the best approach to the prevention of urinary tract infection in acute spinal cord injury patients?” Tenza Dawa, RN, has observed a number of the spinal cord injury patients being diagnosed with urinary tract infection during rehab in the Sister Kenney Rehabilitation Unit.

Healthcare leadership collaboration

Orientation on Thursday, Sept. 5, brought St. Catherine students and faculty together with Allina Health nurses and staff to review the projects and curriculum, as well as establish team charters.

“Our goal is to become the ‘go-to’ educational partner for healthcare and community organizations interested in workforce development in collaborative practice,” said Dean Moyers.  “Our vision is to lead the transformation of healthcare for the health and well-being of all.”

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Sep. 20, 2013 by Julie Michener

See also: Faculty, Healthcare, Students