Teamwork Mentality Now Being Taught

Laura Joszt

Schools are pushing to teach interprofessional education to students so they can learn teamwork. Taught successfully, it can mean lower costs for the health system.

During a single hospital stay, a patient might come in contact with dozens of health care professionals depending on what the issue is. So a number of medical schools are pushing for interprofessional education to pick up once and for all.

American Medical News

Employers, according to , are starting to look for health professionals who can work in a team environment, rather than operating solo. Teamwork can help contain costs as a result of better care, shorter stays and fewer errors.

"There is a growing recognition that as health care becomes more complex, the next generation of health professionals will need to function capably in teams that make optimum use of the skills each brings to the care of patients, families and communities,” said Christine Cassel, MD, president and chief executive officer of the American Board of Internal Medicine, in a statement.

ABIM has joined together with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of Schools of Public Health, the American Dental Education Association and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to form the Interprofessional Education Collaborative.

IPEC’s goal is to better integrate and coordinate the education of health professionals to provide better, more collaborative care for patients.

“The health care we want to provide for the people we serve—safe, high quality, accessible, person-centered—must be a team effort,” said Carol A. Aschenbrener, MD, executive vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, in a statement. “No single health profession can achieve this goal alone.”

Schools like Vanderbilt University, University of Colorado and Yale University are redesigning curriculum to promote and teach interprofessional education.

U.S. News & World Report

According to , Virginia Commonwealth University has melded studies across the medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and allied health professionals schools. Students learn what each professional is and is not trained to do and complete simulations where they have to work together.

This isn’t the first time the health industry has tried to get interprofessional education to work. There are significant barriers. For instance, schools would have to redesign entire curriculums.

American Medical News

Also, there is the fact that faculty will have to teach interprofessional training when they might not have it themselves, according to . They were educated separately, the way health professions have been for a long time. Students might actually adapt to this new style better than their teachers.

American Medical News

“The students don’t have the same biases as faculty do,” Aaron Michelfelder, MD, vice chair of family medicine at Loyola, told . “The students are much more open and less caught up in their specific professions, so they are much more open to collaboration.”