During the fall and spring semester of 2015-16 12 students from CUW (nursing, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, and social work) and Alverno College (nursing and nurse practitioner/mental health) participated in a pilot interprofessional learning experience that involved a nontraditional IPE opportunity. A partnership was created with Justice Point (a non profit, pre-trial case management organization) and the Milwaukee County Drug Court (a program that allows individuals struggling with addiction to be place on probation and receive comprehensive drug treatment). Students first observed how an interprofessional team of attorneys, case managers, police officers, social workers, psychologists and a judge come together to plan out client-centered treatment plans and to carry out court proceedings to keep individuals on track and sober.
Students then collaborated together to think about how health and social care impact sobriety and how they might (through small teams) work with clients to ensure they are referred to the right kind of providers for care. Justice Point identified clients for small teams of students to interview and to produce case write ups (that were shared via a Goggle Drive) in order to produce “active referrals.” Students, through follow up interviews, were able to recommend certain types of prescriptions that might aid clients with sleep issues as well as uncovering issues like the need for comprehensive dental care for clients who may have not been able to, or neglected, their oral health.
Overall, students reported the pilot program as a success and that they learned the value of collaborative care when dealing with patients/clients with complex health and social care needs. The pilot program is being extended for another year and interested students (and faculty) should contact Michael Oldani in the Office of IPE @ CUW for more information. There are a variety of ways students can receive credit for this course, including as a 1-3 credit IPE 550 special topics course.
Special thanks to Karin Wasiullah of Alverno College of Nursing for co-coordinating this learning experience. And special thanks to the following students:
Allysa Bagin. Ryan Nelson, Genesis Estrada, Sarah Dibble, Hallie Schopp, Becky Sobanski, Monique VanFelder, Amy Kutzler, Emily Schroeter, Briana Kneisl, Kristen Holme, and Carrie Fehrmann – you are all trail blazers in IPE!
Michael J. Oldani/Office of IPE @ CUW