Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Nine USA Medical Students Recognized as Interprofessional Fellows

From left: Trevor Stevens, rising second-year medical student; Dr. Carol Motley, associate professor of family medicine and director of family medical student education at the USA College of Medicine; and Sana Ozair, rising second-year medical student. Stevens and Ozair, along with seven fellow classmates, were recognized as interprofessional fellows.
Nine rising second-year medical students at the University of South Alabama recently were recognized at the annual interprofessional fellows banquet for their exemplary service to the interprofessional collaborative practice clinical site at 15 Place, a homeless shelter in Mobile, Ala.

The following medical students were recognized as interprofessional fellows: Hala Al- Safarjalani, Shelby Bassett, Jemimah Chen, Connor Kimbrell, Peter Oakes, Sana Ozair, Ana Perry, Trevor Stevens and Kasey Stouton.

An interprofessional fellow is an honor bestowed on any health science student who has completed a semester at one of the interprofessional collaborative practice clinical sites.

The medical students participated in a year-long program providing wellness care and health education to the homeless population. The program is part of an educational initiative to teach students from different health disciplines to deliver team-based, patient-centered care.

Trevor Stevens, rising second-year medical student at USA, said communicating effectively and having a good attitude is key when working in an interprofessional team. “It is also critical for us to remember that patients are also a part of the interprofessional team,” Stevens said. “If you want to make a difference, everyone has to be on the same page.”

The interprofessional collaborative practice initiative at 15 Place is a partnership between the College of Medicine, College of Nursing and the Physician Assistant Department in the College of Allied Health. Dr. Jennifer Styron, assistant professor of community and mental health nursing and director of special projects and evaluation at USA, said the goal of the interprofessional clinic is to increase exposure to interprofessional education and clinical practice environments and to prepare students to work as members of an interprofessional team to provide safe, comprehensive and community population-oriented health care.

According to Dr. Carol Motley, associate professor of family medicine and director of family medical student education at the USA College of Medicine, participating in interprofessional training is important for medical students because the future practice of medicine is about working in inter-disciplinary teams.

“Skills that make an effective team member should be part of their training, since physicians will often find themselves team leaders in the future,” Dr. Motley said. At the clinic, “nursing students, physician assistant students and medical students learn about each other’s training and skills, teach each other and develop a respect for the value of a diverse interprofessional team.”

In addition to learning and applying the core competencies of interprofessional collaborative practice, Dr. Motley said students also learn valuable interview and basic exam skills at the clinic. “It is impressive to see the compassion and interest the student’s exhibit when working with the patients,” Dr. Motley said. The students also participate in an active learning curriculum, incorporating team-based learning as an instructional strategy.

At the clinic, Dr. Motley said students provide basic health screenings, education and wellness counseling. They also discuss medical problems and make referrals to community services. The interprofessional teams of students also work to develop a needs-based project that culminates in a wellness fair for the homeless guests at 15 Place.

Established in 2013, the interprofessional collaborative practice initiative is funded through a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant through the USA College of Nursing. The purpose of the clinic is to enhance wellness in under-deserved and vulnerable populations in Mobile, Ala. The clinic aims to provide experiential learning for students to practice clinical and communication skills while improving sensitivity to vulnerable populations and promoting a life-long commitment to service.

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