James Madison University

Interprofessional Day Encourages Collaboration

By: Sydney Palese
Posted: November 6, 2013

PHOTO: JMU studentsOn Friday, Oct. 25, the College of Health and Behavioral Studies’ inaugural Interprofessional Education Seminar brought together eighty students, along with faculty, from the school psychology, school counseling, occupational therapy, speech language pathology and nursing programs for a day of education and collaboration.

The daylong event began with a 45-minute welcome and introduction to the event with the entire group. Students from each discipline were then divided up into mixed groups of 15 to educate the group about their respective discipline, ethical guidelines and primary function in the school setting.

Once the students were familiarized with each other’s disciplines, they were broken down into even smaller groups of 10 students each and given one of two case conceptualizations to work through practicing interprofessional collaboration.

PHOTO: JMU studentsThough the cases were complicated, Tammy Gilligan, director of the school psychology program, said they were similar to what the students would find in a school setting.

One case involved a boy with childhood diabetes and a speech language impairment who recently transitioned to a public school from a residential facility and who is experiencing problems at home. The case also pointed out his strengths he is a good artist and he enjoys drawing and sketching.

In order to facilitate discussion and problem solving among the groups, the departments provided materials to guide the students in thinking of the right questions to identify primary areas of concern and course of action.

Once the students worked through solutions to the cases, they discussed the eight key questions from the Madison Collaborative outcomes, fairness, authority, liberty, rights, responsibilities, empathy and character and how they influenced the decision-making process.
Gilligan emphasized that while this is the first year the disciplines have come together to collaborate on ethics, ethical codes are talked about every year and are a huge part of any career within the participating disciplines.

Mandy VanDyke, a second-year student in the school psychology program, said the day allowed her to enhance her collaboration skills and get to know other disciplines.

PHOTO: Tammy Gilligan“CHBS values interprofessional collaboration,” Gilligan said. “It’s fun, and the faculty have enjoyed the day as much as the students have.”

In terms of future collaboration, Gilligan said the faculty involved in the seminar will present at different conferences about interprofessional collaboration and do post-analyses to understand the effect of the day on the student’s professional identity and skills.

The departments are looking forward to holding the seminar again next year.