While educational simulation has been used in medicine and nursing curricula for some time with successful outcomes, the use of simulation in promoting interprofessional collaboration is relatively new. Interprofessional education (IPE) simulation for health professions is being widely adopted in both academia and clinical practice to improve hands-on skills, critical thinking, therapeutic communication, and clinical decision making.
An article in the May/June 2016 issue of Nurse Educator addresses the benefits of using IPE simulation for palliative care.
One of the strengths of simulation education is the inclusion of feedback from evaluators. IPE simulation enables learners of all levels from multiple disciplines of the health care team to gain an appreciation for each other’s role within the team and perform hands-on skills while simultaneously improving teamwork.
Simulated experiences better prepare health care providers for clinical situations and contribute significantly to the safe and efficient care of patients. IPE fosters innovation and overcomes educational barriers related to traditional separation of disciplines.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) supports IPE as a necessary component of the undergraduate nursing curriculum to provide efficient care for patients and families. Poor collaboration and communication skills among the interprofessional team can result in family dissatisfaction, confusion, and distrust. Interdisciplinary training in nursing curricula better prepares students for clinical practice settings than traditional single-provider care education experiences.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports that IPE improves teamwork and communication skills, quality of care, patient safety outcomes, survival rates in the ICU, and patient satisfaction. The strengths of health care education that includes simulation across multiple disciplines contributes
to decreased costs, increased workforce retention, increased community outreach, and improved trust and care transitions in clinical settings.
Researchers developed a study due to a lack of IPE simulation data in the area of palliative care and its associated psychosocial issues. Using four different professional groups (nursing students, medical students, RNs, and medical residents), the purpose was 3-fold: to evaluate the attitudes of nurses and physicians (both pre-licensure and post-licensure) toward collaboration during an interprofessional palliative care simulation, to measure the self-efficacy of participants after completing the simulation, and to explore the differences between the nursing and medical evaluator’s assessment of their own discipline’s collaboration during the simulation.
The results revealed a significant improvement in palliative care measures and interprofessional competency scores. Simulation focusing on palliative care was found to be an effective modality to promote IPE beyond acute care and crisis scenarios. Educators and researchers may use IPE simulations to improve knowledge, attitudes about care of the dying, and awareness of ethical issues, all of which benefit patient care.
IPE simulations were shown to enhance confidence and foster interprofessional teamwork and synergy among nurses and other staff members. Self-efficacy of caring for a patient undergoing palliative care improved with the completion of an interprofessional palliative care simulation using standardized patients.
Participants noted that the simulation experience helped them understand their role and allowed them to engage in uncomfortable conversations in a safe yet realistic environment. As a nurse, would you be open to participating in an IPE simulation in palliative care or another specialty?