ATLANTA – Approximately 500 first-year students from Mercer University's pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy and public health programs attended a two-hour interactive interdisciplinary seminar Nov. 12 in the Sheffield Gym on the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta.
President William D. Underwood and Dr. H.W. "Ted" Matthews, senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the College of Pharmacy, began the session with words of wisdom about the importance of interprofessional education.
"You are fortunate that you have chosen professions where you will serve others, and learning about each other will make you better practitioners," Underwood said.
"Learning to collaborate with other health care providers will improve patient access to care, patient safety and health outcomes," added Dr. Matthews.
During the session, Mercer University Health Sciences Center Interprofessional Education Committee members introduced students to the roles and responsibilities of the represented professions. Students were assigned to interdisciplinary groups and discussed their professions' educational requirements and roles in patient safety.
The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and defines interprofessional education as "when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes."
The session was one of three interprofessional events that occurred at the University this fall.
"These events are only possible because of the teamwork of committee faculty members from the College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing and College of Health Professions," said Gina Ryan, clinical professor of pharmacy practice and chair of the Interprofessional Education Committee. "While developing the large-scale interprofessional education series, the committee members also learn about, from, and with each other, which has made us better educators."
About the Mercer University Health Sciences Center
The Mercer Health Sciences Center became operational on July 1, 2012, and includes four academic colleges – medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and health professions. The Center enrolls more than 1,700 students, employs more than 400 full-time faculty and staff, and graduates more than 500 physicians, nurses and nurse educators, physician assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, family therapists, public health professionals, biomedical scientists and clinical medical psychologists each year. The Center's commitment is to integrate professional education among its future health science professionals by eliminating the traditional silos that have divided them. The Center believes this team-based and patient-centered approach to training health care professionals best serves the needs of patients and ultimately saves money, time and lives. For more information about the Center, please visit hsc.mercer.edu.