UMB Makes Interdisciplinary Learning a Priority

March 20, 2015    |  

Students representing three disciplines assess a standardized patient on IPE Day.

Students representing three disciplines assess a standardized patient on IPE Day.

Students from each of the schools at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) gained insights from each other and from actors, called standardized patients, during IPE Day on Feb. 26.

The third annual interprofessional education (IPE) event drew 231 students and 68 faculty and staff members, including participants from the UMB programs at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville. To promote students’ learning to work across disciplines, each of 11 small groups consisted of a mix of schools. And for the first time, each group was assigned a standardized patient to help bring to life the case scenarios that are at the heart of IPE Day.

School of Nursing Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN,  who directs the University’s Center for Interprofessional Education, said, "Whether you are caring for people in their communities, hospitals, or another setting of care, you have to be able to work effectively as a member of a team,” she says. “UMB faculty and the Center for Interprofessional Education are committed to providing our students with opportunities to learn with, from, and about one another in order that we can prepare the next generation of health care providers, social workers, and lawyers to be skilled in teamwork.

“Designed by faculty from across the University, IPE Day provides a rich learning opportunity for students and underscores the importance of working together across disciplines to address the complex health care challenges of our population groups," Kirschling said.

President Jay A. Perman, MD, has made interprofessional education one of his personal priorities. “It’s important to take advantage of your colleagues who will enable you to do more in the care of patients,” he told the students. The UMB president established the IPE Center in 2013 to prepare all students to provide high-quality, affordable health care and human services within a team-based model.

A pediatric gastroenterologist, Perman conducts a weekly, interdisciplinary clinic with nurse practitioner Elsie Stines, MS, CPNP, and students from various UMB schools.

On IPE Day, Faculty, staff, and students viewed a video of the President’s Clinic so that students might emulate working together to assess a patient. In the presentation, a father explains how his ailing preschool daughter has lost her appetite. For the scenario of the day, the complex case was about a multiple sclerosis patient struggling with pain and housing issues.

Within each of the 11 groups, faculty members mentored participants to help make each scenario meaningful across disciplines. Perman and Stines were among the leaders offering advice as students collaborated to assess the patient’s needs. Overseeing the entire day’s activities were IPE co-directors Heather B. Congdon, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, assistant dean for the School of Pharmacy program at USG, and David B. Mallott, MD, associate dean for medical education at the School of Medicine.

During a wrapup session led by Kirschling, Congdon, and Mallott, students gathered to reflect on a day spent learning from, with, and about one another.

IPE Day was supported by a gift from James A. Earl, PhD, and Sylvia Earl. He is president of the Helena Foundation, named after his mother, Margaret Helena Earl, and is secretary of the Board of Trustees of the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc.