This past August, three IHI Open School Chapter Leaders and I attended a state-wide interprofessional education (IPE) summit in South Dakota, the third conference in the country focused on this topic, and the first to be state-wide. We felt that the conference, designed to fuel conversations across our state on the importance of implementing IPE opportunities in our health science curricula and practicing health systems, was an incredible opportunity to contribute to our health systems both as students and IHI leaders. From the beginning, IHI has focused on the importance of patient quality and safety from a team-based approach, something that is often lost in a health professional curriculum.
During the summit, groups from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds came together to discuss the successes and difficulties they have faced while implementing different types of IPE learning experiences. For example, thanks to the tireless efforts of leaders across the state, “Interprofessional Day” is now held every fall on the University of South Dakota’s campus. During this important day, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medical students come together in interdisciplinary teams to work on patient case studies while learning team-building skills and cultivating professional relationships. This year, the University of South Dakota is also working to design an interdisciplinary elective course focused on simulation education.
At the same time, challenges still arise as we continue to work towards finding better ways to communicate our ideas and progress. As current students, we were able to offer some great insight into these projects, and help facilitate ways to improve upon these current endeavors across the state.
As IHI Chapter Leaders, throughout the day, we were very excited about the number of health care professionals who spoke to us about the importance of IHI, in particular the IHI Open School courses and events we organized for health professional students. The IPE summit was a fantastic way for us to share the importance of IHI, both with those who have worked closely with us in the past and those who want to get more involved with IHI in the future.
Overall, it was an incredible day. Each of us were very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the IPE summit, and look forward to working towards many of the goals discussed throughout the day. There are countless people across the state who realize the importance of team-based learning for health care
professionals. As they are working towards implementing these ideas into curricula and professional education opportunities, we are excited as IHI student leaders to help bring these goals to fruition.
--Rebekka Sneed is a second year medical student at USD Sanford School of Medicine and the IHI Open School SD Chapter President. This blog was also featured on the National IHI Open School blog on 10/8/13.