DO, psychology, PA studies and ODL students will learn alongside each other, to better prepare them for the shift toward a team-based approach to patient care.
The concept of a team-based approach to health care continues to gain traction among practitioners, and many studies have suggested it can be incredibly helpful to the patient; rather than have different aspects of their healthcare handled by a number of health professionals in different places, a team-based approach puts the patient at the center, with each member of the healthcare team working together to ensure none of the patient’s needs falls through the cracks.
Those who will one day practice in this changing healthcare environment will need to be readily prepared to work in a team-based setting. To that end, PCOM’s Philadelphia campus has launched a series of seminars focused on interprofessional education (IPE), which allows students from across disciplines to learn from each other by working side-by-side. (GA-PCOM currently runs an IPE program of its own.)
In required monthly, three-hour sessions, students in the Osteopathic Medicine, Psychology, Physician Assistant Studies and Organizational Development and Leadership (ODL) programs meet as a large group to discuss a specific patient issue or case. Then, the students break into smaller groups and work together to develop a solution. Finally, the groups come back together and present their suggestions to the facilitating faculty members.
Jeff Branch (left), EdD, program director, organizational development and leadership, is one of the faculty members leading the seminar series.
“We not only want to enhance the critical thinking of our students, but we want to show them the benefit of working alongside others, respecting and considering their viewpoints, in order to service the patient effectively,” said Jeff Branch, EdD, program director, organizational development and leadership.
In the series’ first seminar in September, students considered the unique challenges that can occur when people from different cultures interact with one another. Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, vice-chair, clinical PsyD, told the students that this could be true of working with a patient who was of a different cultural background, or even when working with practitioners in other fields.
“Everything can be thought of as a culture,” she said. “Anytime a patient crosses into a healthcare threshold, they are coming into a medical culture. And you all are a part of that culture, bringing with you experiences from your own cultures.”
Christine Mount, MS, PA-C, director of didactic studies, physician assistant studies, says that adding the ODL component to the seminars offers students yet another viewpoint. “It helps broaden the mind, and allow students to consider the business side of healthcare from an earlier point in their training.”
Faculty say that outcomes will be determined by student input and faculty observations, all of which will go toward modifying the program for the 2017-2018 academic year if need be.
“Healthcare is a team sport,” said Michael Becker, DO ’87, MS, vice-chair, family medicine. “The best thing for our patients is for all of us to combine our expertise and work together, rather than working in silos.”
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers doctorate degrees in educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and psychology, and graduate degrees in aging and long-term care administration, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies and school psychology. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations in inner-city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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