Nursing and Medical Students Working Together: MGH IHP Bulletin Article

By Maggie Sullivan Moderator | 11 Apr, 2013

I thought this was fascinating, a story about nursing and medical students working/learning together. Fascinating because it's a great idea, makes good sense and yet is so rare. In my experience as a nursing student, I did take one elective class on global health with other med students, but otherwise, we were siloed into our own enclaves despite being physically on the same campus. I hope this is an emerging trend. I would love to hear if others had more integrated curriculums than I did, or if you know of similar emerging programs.

March 20, 2013
Nurse Practitioner Students Work with Harvard Medical School Students to Provide Better Patient Care

Nurse practitioner students from the MGH Institute have teamed up with Harvard Medical School students to create an interprofessional model of health care for patients who do not have a primary care provider and little or no insurance.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to experience a real-world team approach to patient care,” said School of Nursing Clinical Associate Professor Patricia Reidy, DNP, FNP-BC, who is coordinating MGH Institute students in the Crimson Care Collaborative, a student-faculty partnership clinic that was launched by Harvard medical students and faculty in 2009 to provide care for vulnerable populations.

Last fall, two dozen nursing students volunteered their time to work several evenings at Massachusetts General Hospital community health clinics in Chelsea and Revere, as well as in a medical practice at the hospital.

The student teams, which are precepted by Harvard Medical faculty physicians, function based upon length of time in school, meaning nursing and medical students alternate taking the lead role in caring for patients.

“All of the students are working in an environment where there is no distinction between a nursing student and a medical student,” explained Jessica Zeidman, MD, who coordinates the Harvard Medical students, “and that almost never happens in a traditional health care setting. This is a small step on the path to change the culture of how health care professionals interact.”

After each shift, students participate in a faculty-led review of the night’s cases—another opportunity for the future colleagues to collaborate.

“Learning to work with professionals in other fields early on will lead to better patient care because this is the future of health care,” said third-year NP student Jessica Kraft, who along with fellow student Ryan Tappin joined the Crimson leadership team last fall. “I’ve learned skills I didn’t even know I had, and I know it’s given all the students much more confidence in working with patients.”

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