The chiropractic department at D'Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y., has joined with the six other health care disciplines at the college to offer students a unique opportunity to participate in clinical simulation.
Fourth-year chiropractic students improve their patient interaction skills and develop interdisciplinary communication by co-managing patient cases with students from physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, pharmacy, nursing and dietetic students. The college is one of few in the nation that teach all seven disciplines under one roof, making It ideal for interprofessional collaboration.
The special program began in February and will continue through the end of April 2013, becoming an annual curriculum activity each spring, according to college officials. It is housed in the newly named Interprofessional Clinical Advancement Center in Buffalo and will eventually house seven simulation rooms.
What makes the program exceptional is that professional actors from Buffalo's theater scene play the role of patients. They have been "rehearsed" by the appropriate faculty in their role of a patient with specific health care problems.
The first of four clinical simulations scenarios involves chiropractic and a physical therapy student treating a 'patient' with a musculoskeletal condition. The initial assessment includes history-taking and physical-examination findings. An important component built into the interdisciplinary clinical simulation is how chiropractic and physical therapy would work together and address the patient's questions regarding the difference and similarities between the two professions.
Through the process of clinical simulation, students learn how each discipline can address common conditions while fostering better communication among health care providers and deliver quality and effective care.
Dr. Karen Panzarella, assistant professor of physical therapy and a certified healthcare simulation educator, led the curriculum development with 15 professors from D'Youville's seven health care programs.
"The goal of the curriculum was to allow each discipline to demonstrate a portion of their professional practice while being challenged to communicate with a patient, family members and other health profession to coordinate care," she said.
The four simulation scenarios involve either a female or a male patient through a six-month period of their life. This patient is followed in three different practice settings of outpatient clinic including a hospital based telemetry unit and a medical-surgical hospital floor, with their spouse/ partner present in three of the scenarios.
Dr. Lisa A. DeMarco, assistant professor of chiropractic, said the students are pleased with the new program. "Feedback from the students has been very positive, many of them enjoy the opportunity to educate each other on the strengths of their profession," she said.
DeMarco collaborated with two physical therapy faculty in writing one of the interdisciplinary clinical simulations. "We began a dialogue on how we treat different conditions and recognize our similarities and differences. Building a foundation of improved communications among health disciplines and a better understanding of each provider's strength will assist our students in their future clinical settings and ultimately improve patient care."
A grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo helped in the creation of the D'Youville Simulation Center.
Source: D'Youville College