Hands-on Experience in Team Care

January 26, 2016


Students Gain Insight from Interprofessional Clinical Immersion Experience

Graduate students from Simmons dietetic internship, nursing, physical therapy and social work programs as well as two students from Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth recently took part in an interprofessional clinical immersion with Elder Service Plan (ESP) of Harbor Health Services in Mattapan, MA, part of PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly).

For two weeks, students worked with ESP professionals caring for patients in their homes, long term care facilities, assisted living and nursing homes. They attended team meetings, quality improvement meetings and annual care plan meetings and had daily debriefings and reflection with health sciences and social work faculty.

The experience gave students exposure to professionals from other disciplines, the PACE model of team-based care and to a community setting for a frail, underserved geriatric population.

At the end of the experience, students presented a review of the core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice and provided examples of how they saw these competencies enacted throughout the immersion. The ESP staff in attendance expressed appreciation for the students’ professionalism, willingness to help and ask thoughtful questions. 

Students praised ESP staff members and shared the highlights and knowledge they will take away from this interprofessional clinical immersion.

  • We will have a unique perspective this semester in the classroom because of this hands-on interprofessional experience. 
  • This tangible experience was incredibly valuable and we will take what we learned as we start our careers.
  • Because of this experience, we will be advocates for interprofessional care as we transition into our fields after graduation.
  • This experience reinforced that PACE is an effective model for delivering care and how important it is to have exposure to other disciplines - it will help in our own practice. It was fascinating to see each ESP team member’s expertise and contribution to the patient. 
  • Participating in team meeting discussions - particularly witnessing the problem-solving skills demonstrated by the team - was helpful.

"Interprofessional education plays an essential role in the future of health care delivery and in improving patient outcomes," said Dr. Patricia White, Professor of Practice and a nurse practitioner in primary care and geriatrics. "We are committed to providing students with clinical learning opportunities and experience with effective team-based care models, like this immersion experience, so they will be leaders in interprofessional practice."

Pictured left to right:

  • Front Row: Lillian Casey (NP), Yun Li (Dartmouth), Sydney Smiley (Nutrition)
  • Back Row: Jasmine Welcome (SSW), Alison Totta (Nutrition), Caitlin Prendergast (NP), Casey Robinson-Bullock (PT), Jesus Iniquez (Dartmouth), Susan Holtzman (SSW), Liam Bryant (PT) 

This program was made possible by Simmons faculty Gary Bailey, Sharon Gallagher, Jim Huddleston, Pat Rissmiller and Pat White; Greg Ogrinc, Geisel Medical School Faculty; and Kathryn Burns, ESP Vice President and Executive Director.