Nursing, Medical Students Learn Side-by-Side in Emergency Scenarios

APRIL 14, 2014 - Medical and nursing students do not often have the opportunity to learn side-by-side at the patient’s bedside, but thanks to a unique pilot education project that emphasizes interprofessional education, Georgetown students were able to do just that.

Students from the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies teamed up in simulated emergency care situations during four sessions in April.  They treated simulated patients in cardiac arrest and performed major trauma resuscitation.

The simulated sessions took place at the O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center, a learning and research facility housed in St. Mary’s Hall.  The patient simulators replicate physiological conditions and symptoms, providing a realistic training environment for students.

“It’s important for medical students to be exposed to working with nursing students at the patient’s bedside during a simulation because it sets us up for the kind of environment we will be working in when we graduate,” says nursing student Nicole Grande (NHS’15).

Health Care Team

Typically, nursing students and medical students learn their roles in patient care individually. Yet the silos that typically exist in health professions education are not reflected in the real world settings, students agree.

“Working with the nursing students allows us to better understand all of the roles on a health care team,” says medical student Michael Narvaez (M’14).  “With a better understanding of everybody’s role, there is an opportunity to maximize efficiency among the team and accomplish the goal of caring for the whole person.”

Interprofessional Education

The pilot project is co-led by David Milzman, MD, professor of emergency medicine and assistant dean for student research at the School of Medicine, Wendy Thomson, EdD, MSN, director for simulation education in NHS, and Kim Bullock, MD, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine.

It is part of the annual Curricular Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Learning Environment (CIRCLE) Grant Program funded through Georgetown University Medical Center.

The investigators received the grant in spring 2013, and the pilot project work began in the fall.  They aim to create a new education model to foster team-oriented professional identities and improve interprofessional education.

“We decided to look at the usual training where nursing students and med students train independently of each other and then have them do it collaboratively,” says Milzman. “The students have enjoyed it and the professors have enjoyed it because we see that it truly works better.”

Mirroring Reality

The idea is that if nursing, medical, and other health professions students learn jointly in clinical settings, then as graduates, they will improve patient outcomes by working more collaboratively, communicating better with each other, and fostering a health care delivery system that assures quality and patient safety.

“By giving them simulated experiences, they’ll remember what to do or how to react when they’re in a real situation,” says Thomson. “They get to feel what it means to be a nurse, what it feels like taking care of a patient, making critical decisions, and working collaboratively with a physician.”

To read the full version of this story, click here.

By Sarah Reik, GUMC Communications