The School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine at Taylor’s University introduced interprofessional education for medical and pharmacy students to know each other’s role better.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has left us with any key lessons, it is that an effective interprofessional collaboration between medical doctors and pharmacists, along with other healthcare professionals, are vital in ensuring optimal patient safety and care.
The modern healthcare model continues to move towards a highly-collaborative, team-oriented style in primary care. And although collaborative practice is only a recent trend, much evidence suggests that a multi-disciplinary approach is productive – allowing patients to receive the best care possible.
A strong partnership between healthcare professionals, coupled with understanding of any barriers, can improve the delivery of healthcare services.
For example, a significant number of events happen in the case of transition of patient care within teams and between disciplines.
A busy hospital environment can hinder good communication, whereby a lack of access to information, time constraint and misunderstanding of a healthcare professional’s role and responsibilities can make open collaboration difficult for both the pharmacist and the medical doctor.
Therefore, having good communication strategies is important – as is each individual healthcare professional in understanding his role to facilitate optimum patient care.
In ensuring that healthcare graduates are well-versed with such an environment, students pursuing their Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) or Bachelor of Pharmacy at Taylor’s University are required to experience an inter-professional education (IPE) within their curriculum.
“Interprofessional education is a widely emphasised and well-supported concept in modern health professional education,” said Emeritus Professor P.T. Thomas, the executive dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at Taylor’s University.
“It promotes active participation among students of multiple disciplines involved in patient care, whereby they need to work together to fully engage patients and those that support them.
“Each patient comes with a different set of needs and care. Therefore, the team’s leadership will interchange based on the patient’s requirements. This cultivates respect for disciplinary contributions of all professionals and effective teamwork in taking care of patients.
“With this, Taylor’s has introduced inter-professional education in undergraduate healthcare professional programmes, led by a group of senior researchers and academicians from the School of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine to design activities that introduce collaborative learning among healthcare students – to promote effective communication and understanding of joint responsibility towards patient care,” he said.
The World Health Organisation defines IPE as “students from two or more professions learning about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”
The aim of this initiative is to nurture the culture of a physician-pharmacist collaborative approach in optimising patient care.
Through a series of facilitated activities, it will enable students to acquire the necessary skills in inter-professional collaboration among healthcare professionals, before progressing to their clinical years or clinical environment.
The School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine at Taylor’s University recently introduced the new teaching method with a series of interprofessional sessions to help medical and pharmacy students become better acquainted with each other.
Students were mixed and divided into small groups to review and resolve issues related to prescriptions, such as those for diabetes. Here, they were presented with different scenarios and led discussions on the best approach to provide a treatment plan for their patients.
School of Pharmacy second-year student Aniqah Van Haeran found the session useful and relevant. “It was a very insightful session. We we were able to see cases typically given to doctors and how medical students work to solve patient cases.”
Although there were some limitations to the online sessions, such as the inability to interact physically, Aniqah remained positive over the IPE workshops.
“We have not had the chance to meet each other face-to-face, due to the current circumstances and there were some hiccups in the introductory session. However, we were able to grasp the different perspectives from medical students versus the pharmacy students and it turned out to be a fruitful session, even if we have never worked together before,” she said.
During the clinical years in the later part of both programmes, medical and pharmacy students will have more opportunities to work together in resolving clinical cases together.
Medical students are expected to check the diagnosis of clinical cases, while pharmacy students will review the pharmacotherapy of patients.
With IPE, the Schools hope to produce healthcare professionals that can understand and collaborate with each other as a team to provide optimal patient outcome and safety.
The inter-school collaboration is a part of Taylor’s carefully curated Taylorsphere ecosystem that aims to equip students with academic knowledge, practical wisdom and the ability to create and innovate – within an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration.
Also known as the three intelligences, the Taylor’s Curriculum Framework focuses on intellect – offering a strong foundation with mix-and-match modules, industry placements and borderless learning.
Students are also encouraged to nurture and master their skills in the craft of their choice, with the support of Taylor’s Me.Reka Makerspace, BizPod, as well as Research & Enterprise.
The final intelligence in practical wisdom helps students build skillsets for the working world through life skills modules, led by specialised moderators.
As Taylor’s continues to push the envelope in pedagogy and student-centred learning, these initiatives will give Taylor’s graduates the edge in the industry – while helping them find their place and role in society.
Keen to answer your call of duty to save lives? Join in the annual Taylor’s Future Movement, with eight weeks of activities here.
This article was first published in thestar.com on 27 June 2021
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