Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it often takes a team of healthcare professionals to treat a patient. Students preparing to work in the medical field must also be prepared to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals for the benefit of their patients. Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM)’s Interprofessional Education (IPE) program seeks to teach future physicians, pharmacists, and physician assistants the importance of effectively communicating and working together to manage their patients’ condition.
Required for students in the College’s osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physician assistant studies programs, the IPE curriculum assigns students to teams where they must work together across disciplines and even campuses to complete assignments and participate in activities. The group dynamic encourages communication so students learn to perform in various team roles to effectively administer patient centered-care.
An elderly woman who breaks a hip and needs replacement surgery, for example, will likely receive care from physician assistants and nurse practitioners, therapy from physical and occupational therapists, and medications from a pharmacist, in addition to treatment from her physician or surgeon. This is the scenario that the panel of healthcare professionals led students through recently, which kicked off a group exercise and this year’s IPE program for first year DO, PharmD and PA students.
The panelists included Shaun Brennan, PT, from Benchmark Physical Therapy; Mark Darrow, MD, from Gwinnett Medical Center; Juli Dyer, BSN, MS, APRN, NP-C, from The Longstreet Clinic, PC; Edo-Abasi McGee, PharmD, BCPS, and Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice in the PCOM School of Pharmacy; Michael Sampson, DO, FAOASM, Interim Assistant Dean for Clinical Integration and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at GA-PCOM; Rebekah Thomas, PharmD, PA-C, BCPS, BC-ADM, and Interim Assistant Program Director for the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at GA-PCOM; Melissa Thurlow, OTR/L, CHT, MBA and Director of Occupational Therapy at Peachtree Orthopedic Physical Therapy; and Julie Wickman, PharmD, Assistant Dean for Experiential Education and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice in the PCOM School of Pharmacy..
Each member of the panel discussed their respective role when treating a patient in the scenario above, giving students a perspective on interprofessional approaches to patient care. The panel stressed that collaborating on treatments with other healthcare professionals minimizes the consequences of miscommunication and maximizes effective patient care. By working within their IPE groups and discussing professional, ethical, and cultural issues in healthcare, students will be better prepared to work within team environments after graduation.
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, the doctor of pharmacy degree, the doctor of physical therapy degree, as well as graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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