Interprofessional Education in Health Professions: How a Critical Look can Elevate Patient Safety and Collaborative Practice

Concurrent Session 2
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Brief Abstract

Interprofessional Education (IPE) is a requirement in health professions programs, affecting communication, collaboration, and patient outcomes. We utilized a collaborative course design process, incorporating an unfolding case study with a medical record in our online course, allowing students to participate on an interdisciplinary team addressing the patient’s needs.


Norine Masella, MS, RN, CNE is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and Allied Health at SUNY Empire State College. She teaches online courses in graduate nursing and in the BS in Allied Health program. Norine has been teaching students in health professions for over 25 years in both traditional and online programs. She holds a Master of Science degree with specialization as a Parent-Child Clinical Nurse Specialist. She is a certified nurse educator (CNE) through the NLN Academic Nurse Educator Certification Program and is pursuing doctoral studies at the University at Buffalo in the PhD in Nursing program. With expertise in pediatric critical care, pediatric discharge planning, maternal-child public health, and pediatric home care, Norine has significant clinical experience to bring to education. She is experienced with the use of simulation in health care education. She has provided many educational sessions, including Physical Assessment of the Adolescent for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services for RNs around the state, and pediatric content lectures as a visiting faculty. She is an approved provider for the New York State Curriculum in the recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Norine has also worked in competency-based nursing education. She has experience in the accreditation process, chairing the committees responsible for systematic program evaluation and self-study process in two AD nursing programs. Norine is currently the counselor from Empire State College for the Tau Kappa at-Large chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and was the recipient of their Excellence in Education Award in 2019.
Maree Michaud-Sacks is an instructional designer at Albany College of Pharmacy. She supports faculty through developing creative and innovative instructional solutions to help students engage in the learning process and course material. In addition, Maree assists faculty in implementing various instructional technologies into teaching and learning. Prior to her role at ACPHS, Maree supported technology implementation in K-12 schools and was also an instructional designer/project manager who developed corporate eLearning courses that were deployed worldwide to General Electric employees. Maree holds a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication. She also recently earned a master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology as well as a Certificate in Online Learning and Teaching from SUNY Albany.
Mark Lewis is an Instructional Designer for SUNY Empire State College. He is also a Core Faculty Member in the Master In Learning and Emerging Technologies (MALET) program. He has designed and taught graduate studies in Instructional Design for Online Learning Environments; and Games, Simulations and Learning. He has also designed and taught undergraduate courses in Game Design and Development, Digital Photography, Interactive Multimedia Design, Web Site Design, Adobe Flash Animation, Graphic Design & Desktop Publishing, and Technical Theatre Production. Recent instructional design work has included the incorporation of UX design practices within the creation of collaborative next generation online learning environments and the creation of a faculty oriented instructional design portal. His prior technology and design related work experience includes graphic design, website design and development, technology training, and management of enterprise help desk support. He also worked for many years in technical theatre lighting and set design in the New York metropolitan area and frequently incorporated photographs and digital images in his designs. He was a technical editor for four editions (CS3 to CS6) of Photoshop CS6: Essential Skills published by Focal Press. He is interested in the application of UX design processes for developing learning environments and for game design, games and meaningful play in education, game culture, and games for social change. He has presented at many regional and national conferences on instructional technology, game design for education, game culture and gender issues, and accessibility issues for game design. He is a member of the International Game Developers Association. He holds an M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology from Walden University, an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School, and a B.S. in Visual Arts from SUNY New Paltz where he worked in both painting and photography.
Alena Rodick is an Interim Assistant Director of Instructional Design at SUNY Empire State College. She has been a Co-Pi and/or project member on four SUNY Innovative Instructional Technology Grants, including Career Brand Management for Everyone: Expanding Access to Career Development Learning by Launching an On-Demand, Competency-Based OPEN SUNY Specialization on Coursera; Increasing Access to Online, On-Demand, Competency-Based Nonprofit Management and Leadership Education; Metaliteracy Learning Pathways: Fostering Innovative Teaching Across SUNY; Increasing Access to Nonprofit Management and Leadership Education. While working on these projects, she has designed courses in various platforms, utilized different project management processes, and built learning artifacts with a wide range of tools. She has facilitated workshops and presented at the regional and national conferences and has a special interest in application of design thinking process and learning analytics in instructional design. She is also an adjunct faculty teaching an undergraduate course for The College of Saint Rose and Senior Networked Instructional Designer at Southern New Hampshire University. She holds BS degree in Business Administration from SUNY Albany and MS degree in Information Design and Technology from SUNYIT, and currently pursuing another MS degree in Data Analytics.

Extended Abstract


Interprofessional education (IPE) is an accreditation requirement in educational programs for virtually all health professionals. Because of ongoing patient safety and medical error concerns, national and international organizations have urged colleges and universities to integrate IPE in an effort to improve communication and interprofessional collaborative practice. Communication breakdown is associated with medical errors, and improving communication in an effort to improve outcomes is one of the key reasons for IPE.

Research supports that communication, collaboration, and teamwork will ultimately improve health outcomes. Additionally, professions working together to prioritize patient goals promotes holistic care. Understanding one’s own role and those of others is fundamental to meeting all of the competencies associated with collaborative practice. IPE programs and activities vary, and might include didactic content, simulation activities, or short- and long-term clinical practice.

Students in our online program are allied health professionals completing a bachelor’s degree. Some have completed prelicensure education prior to the integration of IPE, and some have already developed patterns of communicating with other professionals. A critical look at our educational planning course revealed a single discussion that focused on IPE. We found it dull, and sought to find a creative way to increase engagement, apply concepts, and highlight the importance of IPE, thereby improving collaboration.

We engaged in a deep literature review to determine the state of the science of interprofessional education. It has been shown that multiple experiences over a longer time helps in solidifying collaborative relationships and gaining deeper understanding of roles. We developed an unfolding case study and a medical record that were utilized throughout the course. Students participate on an interdisciplinary team to address the health needs of a complex patient from admission through discharge, and then utilize that experience in a mock application for a position on an ethics committee.

Our session will provide an overview of the significance and benefits of interprofessional education from our extensive literature review, and describe the course design process from research through collaboration between faculty and instructional designers. Faculty will highlight the research process, development of the case study and initial ideas for course revision. The Instructional Designers will describe the collaboration utilized to develop and incorporate the medical record, course design process, and integration of elements. We will discuss the changes that were implemented to highlight IPE, evaluation of course grades and quality and number of discussion posts after the changes. We will also describe future steps in terms of planned changes to enhance the course with additional technology, including 360-degree video for the case study and team interaction. Collaborating with our partner schools has identified additional resources such as actors and simulation facilities where we could create videos. We will seek additional ideas from the audience.

To keep participants engaged, we plan use polling technology to assess participants’ knowledge about IPE, types of IPE activities utilized in their programs, and will create an open document from those results which will include resources for IPE in the online environment that can be shared with participants. Handouts of any slides will be provided electronically.

Session goals: Attendees will be able to discuss the significance of interprofessional education in the health professions. They will be able to relate benefits to students, professionals, and patients in health settings. Participants will be able to discuss strategies for incorporating case studies and increasing collaboration in the online environment.