Susan L. Adams, Ph.D., RN, NP, CNS
Associate Professor, UC Davis, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing
I had the fortune of being one of 12 scholars chosen for the Interprofessional (IP) Teaching Scholars Program (Cohort of 2017). As a seasoned educational veteran, I was introduced to newer thinking about approaches to both teaching and learning with a group of IP faculty from medicine (both human and animal), science, and nursing. Other cohorts have included faculty representing pharmacology and other health sciences. Our cohort had an opportunity and the freedom to dive deeply into the literature, discuss and debate theory, role play different methods of teaching and learning from each other. Our faculty mentors provided an interesting and compelling curriculum and led us through the process in a way that stimulated active engagement. My department provided time for this endeavor.
The culmination of the program was the presentation of a project. Many of the scholars developed their own individual projects, however, I was thrilled to engage as a group with some of my faculty colleagues from Veterinary Medicine to build an IP educational session for our respective students, entitled: What Can Nursing and Veterinary Medicine Students Learn from each other. The session we developed included the flipped class, active learning and table-top simulation elements that we tackled in the program. Students were exposed to an evolving case about 90 year old George Palo and his 13 year old Golden Retriever Max.
The all-day session was divided into 4 segments
1) How to assess and manage pain in non-verbal mammals
2) Addressing cross-species zoonotic infections
3) The therapeutic benefits of the human-animal bond: What does the science tell us? and
4) Grief, loss, death and dying.
The full IP class met in a large group for short didactic presentations and then moved into small faculty led groups to work through the evolving case of George and Max. Nursing students were also offered a tour of the animal hospital which resulted in deep discussions about access to health care and health technology. The students and the faculty who participated in the educational session found value in the day and enjoyed the learning experience.
An extra benefit was in having the opportunity to publish and present the work at national and international conferences (which is now part of my CV). My veterinary colleagues and I have maintained contact with each other and recently completed our 2nd VetMed-Nursing IPE day. We are hoping to institutionalize the experience. Another extra benefit has been the development of new lifelong friends/colleagues.
I encourage anyone who wishes to grow as an educator and especially within the context of interprofessionalism, to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity to engage! It was one of the best choices I made as a faculty member at UC Davis, School of Nursing.