Educators are heeding the call for more interprofessional learning opportunities, where medical, nursing and pharmacy students and other members of the healthcare team learn from and with each other.

“We’re trying to improve the amount of teamwork and make it more realistic with what they are going to experience in clinical practice,” said Mike Jacobs, DNS, RN, director of the University of South Alabama simulation program in Mobile, which provides interdisciplinary simulation two to three times a week to medical, nursing, pharmacy and allied students. Training starts during the first semester and continues throughout the curriculum. Scenarios include a death and dying, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, delivering bad news and admitting mistakes.

“They can see the decision-making processes that each discipline goes through in order to care for a patient,” Jacobs said. “It allows them to see not only what another discipline’s responsibilities are and how their responsibilities may overlap. It lets everyone see where they fit into the puzzle.” That leads to better communicators and team members and ultimately, improved patient care, Jacobs said.

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