Building expert medical teams

Learn how the Interprofessional Education Lab is creating better medical teams.

April 15, 2021

Today, clinicians-in-training are educated in silos worldwide. Nurses learn with nurses. Physicians learn with physicians. Social workers learn with social workers. And pharmacists learn with pharmacists.

Yet, they are expected to work as teams when they become practicing clinicians. Despite best intentions, health care professionals tend to become teams of experts rather than members of expert teams. I believe this approach can be improved upon for patients and clinicians alike.

The Interprofessional Education (IPE) Lab, a part of OSF Innovation, is changing this model by building curriculum and simulation that trains those entering the medical field to work as teams. The goal is to transform health care delivery and improve outcomes not just for our patients, but for people around the world.

Transforming medical education and training

Physician and nurse with a patientChanging decades of traditional clinician education won’t be easy. But we have identified four key areas of focus to begin this effort.

First, we have to ensure students learn side-by-side from the moment they begin their respective programs.

We are exploring ways to align the academic calendars and supervised clinical work of medical, nursing and other health care students. The idea is for them to learn together throughout their medical training journey.

Our lab is also working to help front-line clinicians participate in teamwork training. We are doing this by developing prediction algorithms and scheduling solutions that will identify optimal windows for teamwork training. The goal is to ensure our clinicians can still care for patients without interruption.

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that we need to be more flexible in our training efforts. As a result, we are considering options that will allow people to work on team skills in a virtual environment. While it’s not the same as in-person learning, it is an effective way to gain the initial skills that people need to be successful members of a clinical team.

Lastly, the IPE Lab has helped OSF HealthCare become part of the Improving Pediatric Acute Care through Simulation (ImPACTS) Collaborative. This nationwide effort aims to improve access to safe, effective emergency care for children regardless of where they live.

Partner with us

Through Jump Simulation, the IPE Lab has been at the forefront of developing and conducting interprofessional programming for years. In fact, thousands have participated in IPE events across OSF HealthCare. We are excited to take this work a step further for the benefit of our clinicians and patients.

If you are interested in learning more about the Interprofessional Education Lab, participating in certain aspects of the journey or investing or partnering, contact us today.

Featured Author

Willemsen-Dunlap_Ann.jpgAnn Willemsen-Dunlap Ann Willemsen-Dunlap is the Director of Educational Development. A nurse anesthetist by clinical training, she is responsible for the development and execution of innovative faculty development programming and interprofessional education at Jump. She gained her initial experience in simulation, teamwork training and interprofessional education while co-Directing the University of Iowa Department of Anesthesia’s simulation laboratory. She became part of the Jump team in March 2013.


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