A Message from Associate Dean, Deborah Ward
Interprofessional education takes shape here
Posted December 10, 2012
Before the first students and even the first faculty member arrived at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, certain fundamentals about our new school-to-be were already established. Interprofessionalism is key. One of the five core attributes of the school is “Interprofessional/ interdisciplinary education: health professionals learn multiple perspectives to work and communicate as teams.”
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation — the school’s founding funder — was clear on this goal when its leaders first began the process to launch a new and innovative school for health system change. The site selected for this new school — UC Davis — was already deeply steeped in interdisciplinary work. More than half of the graduate programs at UC Davis — 47 out of 87 total programs — are organized as interdisciplinary graduate groups. Graduate groups are made up of faculty from multiple disciplines who come together to supervise degree programs that transcend single academic departments. In our case, our graduate group in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership includes faculty from a host of fields, including medicine, nutrition, psychology, sociology, statistics and, of course, nursing.
So it’s been our duty and our inheritance, as well as our pleasure, to build our graduate programs with interprofessionalism as a cornerstone.
This emphasis is true for the whole health system. My good colleague, Dr. Mark Servis, and I are champions for No. 3 of the health system’s eight strategic goals, “Interprofessional education to shape the future.” We are committed to prepare well-qualified health-care professionals, researchers, educators, staff and leaders who will shape the future.
Interprofessionalism has always been a part of the best of health-care services planning and delivery, but now it’s clear to professionals, as well as the public, that we must work together. Care that is not shared — through team communication, cooperation, skill-building and accountability — will not be of high quality, and could even be dangerous. So as the education deans for our two great health professions schools, Dr. Servis and I can take advantage of pioneering work in education, such as the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. This report authored jointly by national organizations of dentistry, medicine, nursing, osteopathy, pharmacy, and public health lists basic competencies essential to move health-care education beyond profession-specific efforts to engage students of different professions in interactive learning with each other. These groups and more are collaborating to assure that all our health-care students will learn and then practice interprofessionally.
A wonderful team of faculty and staff joins Mark and me in building the interprofessional portfolio. Of course, once we got this team together, we discovered that a great many interprofessional activities were ongoing in the health system. One of our jobs was to recognize and advertise the great work already under way. It turned out that everywhere we turned, interprofessional work was happening — in team training for emergency care conducted at our Center for Virtual Care, in the Quality and Safety course jointly taught by medical and nursing faculty, and in the Interprofessional Collaborative Incident Response Team (i-CIRT) project that provides communication support to teams grappling with communicating authentically with patients and families after clinical incidents.
As I track our teaching and learning, I see this dedication to interprofessionalism every day:
- The students from the public health sciences program that are enrolled in nursing courses;
- The staff and faculty from medicine, nursing, computer science, engineering and other fields working together in informatics;
- One of the School of Nursing postdoctoral scholars who recently connected with nutrition and exercise physiology scientists from UC Davis to promote healthful physical activity with youth in our local Boys and Girls Clubs;
- Or the wonderful meetings of students, faculty and staff here on the Sacramento campus to discuss this year’s Campus Community book.
We live an interprofessional and interdisciplinary life here at UC Davis Health System, just as both Vice Chancellor Claire Pomeroy and Associate Vice Chancellor Heather Young said we needed to do. The big problems in our world will not be solved by individuals, or even teams from one discipline. We need teams that include expertise from many fields and many perspectives to solve those problems. And we are doing that, right now.
Associate Dean for Academics
Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
P.S. Please send me an e-mail with your suggestions and input regarding interprofessional education at UC Davis Health System at firstname.lastname@example.org.