Healthcare professionals work in a diverse community of different specialities and skills. However, most healthcare professional courses are insular and isolating in their training methods. This results in highly trained individuals, who are unfamiliar with the true multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach in health services , leaving them unprepared for working in the NHS. One specific area where teamwork, good communication and appreciation of others’ skills sets are crucial is during medical emergencies and cardiac arrests, where multiple professions (including: Doctors, Nurses, Resuscitation officers, Operating Department Practitioners) work together to achieve the best outcome patients. We aimed to introduce Interprofessional Education (IPE) to cardiac arrest simulations for final year undergraduate medical and nursing students to improve their understanding of working as part of a MDT, to enhance their confidence in dealing with cardiac arrests and prepare them for work in the NHS.
Reviewing the literature, there are several key components required to successfully instil IPE including: commitment to IPE, expert facilitation, understanding of roles in different professions, and positive role modelling . When designing the course, we obtained each profession’s learning outcomes for cardiac arrest and planned them into the course; paying particular attention to equal weighting of learning outcomes for both professions and mutual learning outcomes. Furthermore, we identified key skills which we wanted students to demonstrate and designed simulations to incorporate these. For example, nursing students using the defibrillator in manual mode independently and medical students to independently use the defibrillator in automatic mode. To add value to the course we wanted high quality role modelling and profession specific feedback. To do this, we ensured both qualified nurses and doctors with experience in delivering feedback and real-life cardiac arrest cases were present for all sessions.
Feedback collated from students and faculty positively supported the introduction of IPE in cardiac arrest simulation, with students specifically commenting on the benefits of teamwork, understanding each other’s competencies, and benefits of workings as an MDT.
Due to these simple changes and keeping IPE at the centre of our design and implementation of the cardiac arrest simulation course, we were able to successfully introduce IPE to final year undergraduate medical and nursing students.
1. Choudhury RI, Mathur J, Choudhury SR. How interprofessional education could benefit the future of healthcare–medical students’ perspective. BMC Medical Education. 2020;20(1):1–4.
2. Buring SM, Bhushan A, Broeseker A, Conway S, Duncan-Hewitt W, Hansen L, Westberg S. Interprofessional education: definitions, student competencies, and guidelines for implementation. American journal of pharmaceutical education. 2009;73(4).