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.
Interprofessional Leadership Course (Year 1)
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. Understanding personal values and learning group leadership skills are an early focus of this curriculum.
Service Learning (Year 1)
Another key component of the Interprofessional Leadership Course in Year 1 is service learning. Students work in interprofessional teams on selected service learning activities, with a goal of reinforcing teamwork concepts in an interprofessional manner. These activities take many different forms but all are designed to be relevant to the future health care careers of the students. And, in many cases, students have continued their projects beyond the required hours. Service learning not only helps students to become involved in their community, but is a way of testing and refining their group and leadership skills.
Years 2, 3, and 4
Interprofessionalism education continues after beyond the first year. In Year 2, students will focus on ethics, legal issues, and medical humanities in connection to interprofessionalism. They also participate in experiential learning as part as interprofessional health care teams. Once students enter clinical rotations during Years 3 and 4, clerkship evaluations address students’ abilities in interprofessionalism. Other interprofessional health care team experiences, topics, and themes are addressed in the final two years.