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 future clinical settings, they can work more effectively as a team to improve patient outcomes.
Interprofessional Learning Course & Service Learning Project (Year 1)
Students at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine 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 medical students participating in a public health walk with faculty, city officials and public health providers to gain insight into their new community, to understand public health aspects of an interprofessional team, learn of service opportunities, and to understand where future patients live, work and play.
An introduction to Interprofessional Learning Course is taken in Year 1. Students are enrolled in the course, as well as selected nursing and physician assistant 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 potential biases of the different health care professions. Understanding personal values and learning group leadership skills are an early focus of this curriculum. While there are many elective service learning opportunities in our four year curriculum, this first year course incorporates required service learning as part of our Culinary Health Track.
Years 2, 3, and 4
Interprofessionalism education continues beyond the first year. In Year 2, students focus on ethics, legal issues, medical humanities, and public health and medicine in connection to interprofessionalism. They also participate in experiential learning as part of interprofessional health care teams. Once students enter clinical rotations during Years 3 and 4, clerkship objectives require interprofessional team experiences in the clinical setting and the evaluation process addresses students’ abilities in interprofessionalism. Other interprofessional health care team experiences, topics, and themes are addressed in the final two years including regular domain days and an interprofessional disaster day with Jefferson College of Health Sciences with over 200 health students.