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September 04, 2015

This post is written by one of our Baycrest Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (LRI) summer interns, as part of a reflective series. Read about the interns’ experiences on Twitter by following #LRIinternship2015.  

This summer, ten students from diverse disciplines participated in the Baycrest Centre for Learning, Research, and Innovation’s (LRI) 6-week summer internship. Together, we were immersed in interprofessional learning experiences to explore innovative and collaborative approaches to building a client-centred health care system. Through interprofessional education sessions, we learned about the different and essential roles each health care team member plays.

An exceptional interprofessional experience was our assigned evaluation project. Under the mentorship of Jennifer Reguindin, we came together as two students from distinct disciplines, nursing and nutrition, to apply the Success Case Method. This was the first time the LRI had applied this innovative approach to evaluate two educational modules on Team Essentials for Preventing Acute Deterioration and for Coordinating Care for Responsive Behaviours.

This was our first time collaborating with a student from another discipline on a health-related project. Coming from different educational backgrounds, we each brought distinct skill sets. The first lesson we learned was to build on each other’s strengths through peer scaffolding, a method by which a more experienced peer advises another peer with a task. In our project, we shared presentation skills, qualitative analysis techniques and time management strategies with each other. It was important to keep an open mind and actively listen to each other. During our project, we were challenged to summarize our evaluation findings into a succinct and engaging presentation. Because we could exchange our perspectives, we became aware of our assumptions and learned to consider other mindsets. For instance, we found ourselves rethinking how we presented our findings. We asked ourselves if we were assuming that the audience had pre-existing knowledge of our method and topic. This question was important, because we were using a new evaluation method and knew that the audience would be diverse (e.g., staff, leadership and families). In addition, collaborating allowed us to share feedback to improve our presentation styles. At the end of the internship, we received comments that our presentation to the Baycrest community was clear, creative and engaging!

From this experience, we both learned the value of teamwork, whether in the form of communication or peer support. By learning how to meet a common goal as a team, we came to truly appreciate diverse ways of knowing, as taught by our disciplines, experiences and histories. This ultimately taught us the value of interprofessional collaboration as it relates to client care. Just as the quality of our project was enriched through peer scaffolding, so too can the quality of care be enhanced through shared interprofessional expertise.  By experiencing its significant impact on our project, we can now also envision the transformative effects of interprofessional teamwork on quality of care. 

—Baycrest LRI 2015 Summer Interns, Patricia Julian, BScM, BScN Candidate Class of 2017, Ryerson University; Anita Wong, BASc, MPH Candidate Class of 2017, University of Toronto

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