Students teaching students: Interprofessional learning in health care
The landscape of health care is rapidly changing. Practitioners from different fields are finding new ways to work together to improve patient care. This shift is happening at the University of Manitoba. Working with the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT), students from Pharmacy, Social work, and Rehabilitation Sciences provided a presentation to Pharmacy Technician students, teaching the role of each practitioner within a Pulmonary Rehabilitation program.
“I believe our students found it much more interesting when they were being taught by other students who can relate their experiences with them. I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said Advit Shah, (B.Sc. Pharm, U of M) Pharmacy Technician Program Coordinator at MITT and event organizer.
“It’s about building bonds and working together. The technicians can help the pharmacist refer patients to other healthcare professionals now that they know their function. And it works in the opposite direction as well. These other healthcare students and professionals get a chance to see what our technicians can do.”
The event was hosted at MITT on Pembina Highway in Winnipeg. The student volunteers from the University of Manitoba were each doing a rotation in the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Deer Lodge site. The students collaboratively presented on the health care implications of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (widely referred to as COPD) within their respective fields. The students prepared a lecture explaining how a pharmacist, physiotherapist, respiratory therapist and social worker would treat a patient presenting with these conditions, along with how each member works on the team at the site. The session also allowed the U of M students to learn about the pharmacy technician students in regards to their scope of practice. This allowed all groups to better understand how to work together once in practice.
Kristine Petrasko (B.Sc. Pharm, U of M) works in the Pulmonary Rehab Clinic and helped coordinate the U of M students for the event. “The event was about cross education – It provided an opportunity for everyone to learn what each discipline could do for each other, and most importantly, for the patients. Learning more about each other’s needs and abilities in practice essentially helps the students learn how to communicate with each other more effectively. This can only help to benefit the patient in the end.”
In addition to the presentation, the U of M students did a case review and practiced working in groups with therapy devices which included: inhaled respiratory devices, blood pressure machines and secretion clearance aids. As a learning opportunity the event was very well received. Students took ownership of their professions and started laying the ground work for interprofessional collaboration for when they are working with the public. Participants of the most recent event included: 24 MITT pharmacy technician students, five U of M students, four representatives from the U of M Interprofessional Education (IPE) Advisory committee from each of the disciplines, along with the IPE Advisory chair Ruby Grymonpre. The team at Deer Lodge is looking forward to contributing to future events.