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An exciting collaboration between UCSF nursing, medical, dental, pharmacy and physical therapy students - Interpersonal Education. This is an inspiring story about students reaching across disciplines for the benefit of the patient. And new to me, is UCSF's Center for Innovaction in Interprofessional Education, who's goal to transform health care by influencing interprofessional education and practice. I hope this becomes the norm, rather than the exception. Please share your stories if your nursing school does something similar.

"UCSF's Millberry Union gym took on the look of a political convention on Monday afternoon, with 500 first-year students packing the floor beneath signs indicating all 50 states. Rather than teaching the students about politics, however, the future health professionals gathered in the gym could probably teach a thing or two about collaboration and cooperation to the nation’s politicians.

Monday was "Interprofessional Education Day" — the kickoff event for UCSF's Center for Innovation in Interprofessional Education. In an effort to reflect the way health care is actually delivered today – by teams of professionals working together – UCSF is breaking down barriers between its various schools, and enabling students of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and physical therapy to collaborate on projects.

“No one of us is going to have the competence to provide complete care. That’s why we’re going to have to work in teams,” said Kevin Grumbach, MD, chair of Family and Community Medicine in UCSF's School of Medicine. “You are not the most important person in the health care delivery system, which may come as a shock to some of you. The most important person is the patient.”

In emphasizing a model of patient-centric care­ ­– and in bringing all of its students together to work in that direction – UCSF aims to take a leadership role in the national movement toward interprofessional education, according to Elizabeth Watkins, PhD, dean of UCSF's Graduate Division and vice chancellor of Student Academic Affairs.

“We want to take advantage of having all five health professions represented here at UCSF,” Watkins said. “These team exercises will spark their enthusiasm and inform their role in what the new world of health care will look like.”

Although the practitioners of various specialties have worked together for many years, that concept has only expanded into the educational process of future health professionals relatively recently. Yet it’s swiftly becoming a vitally important part of a student’s training since research has demonstrated the benefits of teamwork, coordinated efforts and knowledge sharing to improve patient outcomes and provider satisfaction."

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October 11, 2013
Story by Dan Fost

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