Innovative Interprofessional Learning: Computer-Based Simulations to Facilitate Interprofessional Education and Organizational Leadership for Nurses
Growing consensus among healthcare professionals supports the need for interprofessional collaboration and communication to support patient safety, patient and provider satisfaction, health outcomes, and reduce costs. At the University of South Florida, College of Nursing, interprofessionalism is integrated into the curriculum. One undergraduate leadership course focusing on interprofessional roles and collaboration was reimagined during the pandemic to meet required clinical experiences. This was accomplished through the integration healthcare leader interview simulations and reality-based virtual meetings. To determine impact, the innovation was studied.
A constructivism-based innovation was developed to support required clinical hours and ensure achievement of learning outcomes. The innovation reflects an interprofessional initiative where members of different professions work and learn about interprofessional collaboration from and with each other. Interviews of interprofessional healthcare leaders were collected to construct simulated real-world interviews and meetings. Students participated in simulated interviews and meetings in the course before interviewing interprofessional leaders and observing interprofessional collaborations at clinical sites. Students documented their observations and reflections on assignments. Students and faculty were surveyed using an IRB-approved process to evaluate the innovation. Students’ knowledge of interprofessional roles and collaboration was also assessed. The data collection spans multiple semesters.
Results demonstrated the innovation supported student assignment and learning outcome achievement and knowledge of interprofessional collaboration. Students reported the ability of computer-based simulations to facilitate assignment completion and learning outcome achievement. Faculty reported the ability of the innovation to facilitate students’ successful completion of related assignments and learning outcomes. Importantly, students reported a new understanding of interprofessional team members roles and the value of interprofessional collaboration on quality patient care.
Computer-based simulations facilitated the learning of interprofessional roles and collaboration for nurses leading to an appreciation for interprofessional collaboration and interdependence of roles in their practice. This study showed that online simulations can help students by enhancing and standardizing interprofessional role and collaboration education and experiences. Initially created to ensure consistency during the pandemic, this innovation has enhanced interprofessional communication and collaboration as reported by students and will be retained in the course.
Simulations can role model best practices and provide controlled content not dependent upon clinical site opportunities. Respectful communication and valuing of all team members regardless of gender, racial, and cultural diversity was a vital component of the simulated experiences and reflected an equitable work environment. The potential for transferability of the innovation to other courses is being explored.