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A redefining day

By Jennifer Parraga

“IPE Day surpassed my expectations,” said Regina Yuen, a nursing student at the University of Windsor. “I attended hoping to collaborate with students from an array of disciplines and gain perspective into their scope of practice. I experienced that and so much more.”  

Yuen is referring to the second annual Interprofessional Education (IPE) Day held on April 3 at the University of Windsor. She was joined by 25 of her peers from Nursing, along with students studying respiratory therapy, social work, and human kinetics, as well as first- and second-year medical students from Schulich Medicine.

IPE Day is a partnership event between Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, the University of Windsor, the University of Waterloo, Fanshawe College and St. Clair College. It takes place in Windsor and London, with more than 600 students participating across the two events. It is also developed in cooperation with the SouthWestern Academic Health Network (SWAHN), a network of health care educators and practitioners across the South West and Erie St. Clair LHIN regions.

Through presentations, round table discussions and small group sessions, organizers create opportunities for students from the various programs to interact, enhance communication and build synergies, with the hopes of breaking down the stereotypes they may have of their peers and future colleagues.

A special feature of the Windsor event was the case study presentation. For the case, Dr. Andrea Steen was joined by twin patients, Allison and Lauren, who spoke about their patient journey. The women shared their life challenges facing the rare incidence of Symmetrical OCD, and how Dr. Steen and the rest of the health team met the women on their terms.

Students welcomed the opportunity to attend the event, as they had hoped it would help them learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the different members of an inter-professional health care team. They also wanted to gain a better understanding of what the various team members contribute to health care decision-making, so they can begin to imagine the future of working together in an interdisciplinary and cohesive environment.  

They didn’t leave disappointed.

“We discussed and challenged stereotypes, and collaborated on a case study in which different information was provided to all the professions,” said Yuen. “It was wonderful to see everyone’s input and knowledge put to the test.”

Ida Szarics, a Schulich Medicine student, valued the opportunity to work together as a team, bringing different perspectives and roles. “We had the opportunity to work together when we discussed strategies for managing the care of a patient with complex health and social needs.”

Reflecting on their experience at IPE Day, students believe they will be able to incorporate their learnings into their clinical experience and future practice.

“Carrying the knowledge that interdisciplinary collaboration will improve patient outcomes and strengthen health care team was a key learning for me,” said Yuen. “By respecting other professions and building upon their knowledge, we will all continue to learn from each other.”

In the end, organizers were pleased with impact the sessions had on the students, and students shared their desire to be engaged in future inter-professional opportunities.