Interprofessional nursing education: a pilot study in the medical intensive care unit and internal medicine outpatient clinics
AbstractBackground: Healthcare requires frequent interactions among nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals. Healthcare students frequently have little or no interaction with other disciplines during their education.
Methods: The nursing students in our health sciences center do not have any formal interaction during their education with physicians in the hospital or clinics. This pilot project allowed senior nursing students to directly observe physicians working in the medical intensive care unit and in the internal medicine clinics. We used pre-and post-intervention surveys and post-intervention interviews to determine their satisfaction with this clinical experience and to determine any changes in their attitudes or understanding following their observations in the work site.
Results: Twenty-two nursing students completed this pilot project. There were no difficulties with the organization or scheduling of these students, and they found this experience useful and educational. There were significant changes on two survey questions. Nursing students thought that physicians had more need for collaboration with other healthcare workers following their observations but also thought that physicians spent less time with patients and family than expected. During the interviews after the experience, the nursing students indicated that this intervention increased their understanding of the need for communication, collaboration, and planning during patient care.
Conclusions: This pilot project demonstrates that it is relatively easy to increase the interprofessional education of nurses by allowing them to observe physicians during routine clinical work in the medical intensive care unit and in the internal medicine clinics. This did not require significant organization or introduce difficult scheduling problems. Nursing students found this activity educational and did have important changes in their understanding of physicians’ work following this intervention. This model can be easily used in other clinical situations.
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