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Review Article Open Access
Learning how to work effectively on inter-professional teams has been identified as an outcome competency in nursing education as specified by the Quality and Safety Education in Nursing Teamwork and Collaboration Competency  and in medical education as specified in the Liaison Committee on Medical Education . How to teach teamwork skills, and where to place this content in the curriculum, is an ongoing problem for both medicine and nursing. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and evaluation of a community work-place learning activity that evolved from a nursing student experience to an interprofessional experience.
Background: Nursing students from a large midwestern research university had been participating in a health screening research project of school children supported by the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation of their community health courses. Learning objectives for each course were broad with very little differentiation between levels. Using concept-based curriculum principles, and content from the Team STEPPS in 2006 national program, the courses were restructured and an interprofessional teamwork experience for nursing and medical students was implemented. All students participated in an extensive orientation that required each one to pass skills tests for taking an accurate blood pressure and performing accurate height and weight measurements. Nursing students were educated at two different levels: junior nursing students lead the activity while sophomore students focused on health screenings data collection and assessment. Previous to the restructuring, the team leader role was assumed by faculty. With role clarification, faculty shifted their function to the role of a team coach. Medical students were trained much like sophomore nursing students with the role of carrying out clinical tasks. Following each interprofessional teamwork experience, students completed the Interprofessional Collaborative Competencies Attainment Survey (ICCAS). IRB determined this to be exempt from review.
Results: An Independent sample t-test was used to compare mean score differences. Mean score differences on the ICCAS between inter-professional collaborative competencies before and after the experience for 122 participants showed a significant improvement between Total pre-mean score (M=116.5, SD=19.1) and Total post mean score (M=127.6, SD=15.2); t=8.5, p<0.001. Additionally, all ICCAS subcategories (Communication, Collaboration, Roles and Responsibilities, Collaborative Patient/Family Centered Approach, Conflict Management, Team Functioning) showed a significant difference between pre and post mean score differences.
Conclusion: The public health screening project funded by the Prentis grant was effective in learning interprofessional collaborative competencies while meeting nursing and medical student course learning objectives. Faculty creatively working together can overcome the obstacles to inter-professional education to promote learning teamwork and collaboration.