Education Report

Interprofessional education at St. Michael's

Thanks to a nomination from a past student, St. Michael's has been honoured for rising above its peers in its delivery of interprofessional education.

Lu Liu, a radiological technology student, submitted St. Michael's nomination for the Michener Institute Award for Clinical Interprofessional Collaboration and Education. "When my Michener classmates and I were discussing the interprofessional education we received at different clinical sites," said Liu, "the quality and complexity of the program at St. Michael's stood out."

For example, St. Michael's culture of interprofessional learning is exemplified through the monthly student Interprofessional Education Series. Designed by students, the series offers a rich atmosphere in which to learn with, from and about the different disciplines.

"Interprofessional education focuses on participants' understanding of what each of us bring to the health care table, where we cross over and how we can work together to provide the best service to our patients," said Dean Lising, manager of Academic Affairs and co-facilitator of the series. Topics include health literacy, emotional intelligence and understanding disabilities.

To discuss sensitive subjects such as how to deal with disagreement among a health care team and how to work with the families of critically ill patients, Student Café sessions offer a more intimate environment for discussion. Group leaders represent the disciplines of social work, physiotherapy, respiratory therapy, spiritual care and radiography.

"Our team of educators has specialized training in how to formulate an interprofessional session, and how to facilitate it so we draw out the different experiences of the students," said Ellen Newbold, education leader for physiotherapy and co-leader of the Student Café program. "The goal isn't to be a 'teacher' or an 'educator,' but just to encourage the students to learn from each other."

Reaching nearly 400 students from 18 different professional backgrounds in 2011-2012, Student Interprofessional Education sessions have been very effective forming bonds between points of care that will ultimately help break down professional barriers.