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Students, faculty focus on team-based health care

Mar. 12, 2013 @ 11:22 PM

HUNTINGTON -- While practicing the science and skills that will mold them into health care professionals, about 350 Marshall University students used a series of sessions to develop one potentially life-saving skill: communication.

The future doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical and speech therapists, social workers and other health care professionals participated in the final in a series of collaborative education events Tuesday night at the St. Mary's Medical Center for Education.

The programs were hosted by Marshall University officials along with the deans of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions.

The programs are meant to encourage students from multiple disciplines to learn the advantages of collaboration in the delivery of high-quality health care, said Dr. Kevin Yingling, dean of the School of Pharmacy.

"This is a platform for them to interact with other professionals for educational purposes in an effort to help them better understand other health care disciplines," said Yingling. "The way health care is now, it is evolving to a more team-based approach, and it is important for us as educators to make sure we help the students understand the value in this kind of training."

The concept of interprofessional education, or common learning, has gained traction recently as a way to break down "silos" associated with health care education with the goal of delivering better patient care, said Yingling.

During the sessions, students were sorted into groups, each of which had at least one representative for each profession.

Within those groups students were given two case studies. During the first case study, half of those students would consider and discuss their options in that case, while the other half listened and observed.

For the second case study, those groups would switch to allow everyone the opportunity to both participate in the case study discussion and to observe one of those discussions.

Ron Reyes, a second-year medical student, said the event was helpful in showing him other perspectives that will be relevant in future patients' lives.

"It was enlightening to know what everyone else does in addressing a certain problem," said Reyes. "Instead of just looking at this from a medical focus, it's interesting to see what other ideas can be applied and what might work best when you look at it from another angle."

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