It was the year of Apollo 13, the official breakup of the Beatles, and the invention of the floppy disk. It’s been 43 years, but a 1970 report from the University of Minnesota—outlining students’ perspectives about team-based care—seems almost more relevant today.
“Discussions with students disclosed the desire to see far more emphasis on the ‘team’ approach to providing health care. Students assert that if future health care delivery systems require a team approach to provide the necessary services, today’s health student must be exposed to the approach in his educational experience. Students recognize the impossibility of training all professionals in the same courses and program, emphasize the necessity of integrated training when practical.”- Report of the External Committee on Governance of University Health Sciences, University of Minnesota, February 1970
I recently attended the annual CLARION case competition—a national student-led and student-run event based at the University of Minnesota. Nine interprofessional teams from across the country traveled to Minneapolis to showcase their approach to reducing readmissions and improving care for COPD patients. As I spoke to the students, I again heard a strong desire for interprofessional, team-based training and care. In fact, they expect to work on teams once they enter practice. One student spoke about the role of interprofessional practice for the CLARION case as if it was a “no-brainer,” noting that a complicated condition like COPD really requires collaborative, well-coordinated care. Their particular case solution involved a physician, nurse, pharmacist, care ambassador, social worker, and respiratory therapist—truly an interprofessional team.
Below: students share their research at the CLARION national case competition poster session on Saturday, April 20.
The national center is taking a cue from these energetic students, engaging them more formally in our work. We’re developing student consultancies and practicums to explore interprofessional practice and education issues, with our first student rotation scheduled for this summer. Next year, we will develop a student advisory council connected directly to the national CLARION competition. And we will invite a student representative, on a rotating basis, to join our national advisory council; they will serve alongside some of the country’s best minds in health care practice and education.
I often think of that 1970 quote as we begin creating the Nexus—the shared ground, shared conversation, and shared language necessary for true collaboration between education and practice. It’s what the students in 1970 wanted, and it’s what today’s students view as absolutely critical to their ability to function in the new health care marketplace.
Without students, the Nexus doesn’t work; they must have a voice in that shared conversation. The national center is making sure those student voices are heard so that, in another 40 years, we’ll marvel at how far we’ve come instead of how little has changed.