IPE Immersion Program
From a small beginning with 30 students in 2009, the UIC Interprofessional Immersion Program has become an annual activity that now involves more than 1200 students each year, on three different campuses. Starting in Spring, 2013 and continually annually since then, the program has provided over 6000 students with an introduction to the importance of interprofessional collaborative practice and provided the opportunity to explore the roles and responsibilities of various health professions and interprofessional communication. While the original program, commonly identified as "IPE Day" was a great start, the program has been continuously improved through evaluation of feedback and outcomes to include on line preparatory work followed by a 4-hour session in which they come together to learn with, from and about each other through a series of small interprofessional group activities. Students from dentistry, health informatics, health information management, health care administration, medicine, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health and social work now participate in the program across the three sites.
From 2013-2015, the students learned from the case of Barbara Smith, a 68 year old woman who falls at home and fractures her hip. A new case was introduced in Spring 2016 with George Jones, a 52 year old with chronic low back pain and an opioid substance abuse disorder. These video based cases, which were created through a collaboration between faculty and the Graham Clinical Performance Center are used to engender discussion about important health and health care issues and about how collaborative practice improves patient outcomes.
At each of the 3 different campus locations, the program has been tailored to meet the needs of the learners. In Chicago, learners from 13 different professions and facilitators from all 7 health science colleges, the University Library, UI Hospital, Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity participate in teams that include a full range of clinical and non-clinical professions. In Rockford, BSN students from outside UIC participate to add to the interprofessional experience of the UIC learners and experience working with standardized patients. In Peoria, the learners have the advantage of the facilities of the state of the art Jump Simulation Center.
Feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive. The vast majority of students responded along these lines - "Yes, I think it is important. We don't often get the chance to collaborate with other professionals so that made IPE day both engaging and very informative/valuable". Faculty continue to explore options to increase the impact of the IPE Immersion program for students through continued innovation and evaluation of the curriculum.