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Interprofessional healthcare --- more than an expression

Jan 05, 2015 06:35PM ● By MED Magazine

By Carla Dieter, EdD, FNP-BC

What if, instead of a single health-care professional focusing on your healthcare needs, a team of skilled professionals from multiple disciplines closely worked together to give you the best possible care?

The answer is evident: You’d want a team, and you’d prefer it if that team worked cooperatively, collaboratively, and that each member of the team shared their skills and knowledge with each other to assure a successful outcome.

That’s the premise behind interprofessional healthcare, and it is also the reason that the different programs in the University of South Dakota’s School of Health Sciences (SHS), including the school’s Nursing program, are carefully incorporating interprofessional education into their curriculums.  We believe our students must be properly prepared to practice interprofessional health-care.

What makes this so important? A landmark 2003 report by the Institute of Medicine titled Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality emphasized that one of the five core areas needing focus in educational programs involved developing and maintaining proficiency in working as a part of interdisciplinary teams. 

USD’s School of Health Sciences and its medical school were instrumental in organizing educators and practice partners from many different colleges, universities and healthcare institutions from across South Dakota in 2013 to develop interprofessional projects intending to advance a concept known as the “Triple Aim”.   This concept –Triple Aim – refers to the 

 simultaneous pursuit of improving the patient’s experience of care, the overall health of various population groups, and the reduction of healthcare’s per-capita costs.  Interprofessionalism will be a key component in meeting those three goals. 

I am the Chair of the South Dakota Collaborative for Interprofessional Education and Practice, a statewide committee formed in 2013 that is developing projects and implementing strategies to advance interprofessionalism in healthcare, including in the institutions of our state that teach healthcare programs.  We are making progress on many fronts.

I’m especially proud to report that USD’s School of Health Sciences (SHS) is on the path to fulfill its vision of being a nationally-recognized leader in interprofessional health sciences’ education. It allows students from multiple disciplines to work together on clinical case simulations to improve patient care and outcomes. 

Carla Dieter, EdD, FNP-BC, is the Chair of the University of South Dakota School of Nursing.