November 30, 2009

Nursing, medical students work on improving communication

The schools of Nursing and Medicine will use a $35,000 grant from the Retooling for Quality and Safety Program, an initiative of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the IHI Open School for Health Professions, to bring together medical and undergraduate nursing students to study how to improve communication and work together for patients’ benefit.

The project will take place during classes in early spring, with a goal of reaching all 109 traditional nursing and 120 medical students. Both schools already include patient quality and safety in their curricula.

Jo Walrath, associate professor and director of the baccalaureate program in the School of Nursing, said that the students will participate in case studies involving communication strategies between professions. “Nursing students often ask why nursing and medical students are trained in academic silos and then are expected to come together after their careers start to figure out how to work together,” Walrath said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for these students to have both schools committed to pilot interprofessional education.”