Interprofessionalism at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is the study and practice of the roles between various health care providers including student doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and allied health providers. The goal is to have the professions learn to work together and respect one another's roles in health care, so that in a clinical setting down the line, they can work more effectively as a team to improve patient outcomes.
Students at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will study interprofessionalism throughout their four years. In fact, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is the first medical school in the country to integrate interprofessionalism across the entire curriculum. The groundwork is laid during Year 1 with the Interprofessional Leadership Course. Students are enrolled in the course, as well as some nursing, physician assistant, and allied health students from the Jefferson College of Health Sciences. The class meets once a week. Interprofessionalism knowledge and skills are developed around personal reflection, conflict resolution, and successful team work. Students also investigate the roles, responsibilities, and biases of the different health care professions. This curriculum is delivered in partnership with the Batten Leadership Institute at nearby Hollins University. Understanding personal values and learning group leadership skills are an early focus of this curriculum.
Another key component of the Interprofession Leadership Course in Year 1 is the required service learning project. Students work in interprofessional teams to select a community service project in the community. Once the project is approved by the faculty, students are required to work on the projects for 13-17 hours. The hope is that many students will want to continue their projects beyond the required hours. The groups will then present the outcomes of their projects to the entire class. This project not only helps students to become involved in their community, but is a way of testing and refining their group and leadership skills.
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