Inter-professional collaboration is an emerging practice in the College of Health Professions. Every semester, the occupational therapy and nursing students engage in patient-related simulations. Topics can range from teaching and learning vital signs to enhancing therapeutic communication skills.
This semester, the departments coordinated their efforts to prevent patient falls in a hospital setting, and to promote healthy lifting techniques at work. This activity hopes to address the growing concern that falls occur to one of three persons who are 65 years or older. Unfortunately, falls can be life threatening as they are the most common cause of accidental death in people 65 years or older. In addition, prevalence of back injuries in the healthcare industry are estimated at $20 billion annually.
The W.A. Lettinga Simulation Lab was the location for occupational therapy students to review stand-pivot transfers with nursing students. Transfers were done on healthy volunteers who were assigned one of four medical challenges. In this standardized patient learning experience, data was collected on the nursing students’ transfer competencies, body mechanics, self-efficacy beliefs, and learning style. Data was also collected on the occupational therapy students’ teaching of patient transfer skills.
In the future, inter-professional learning activities between occupational therapy and nursing will continue to expand and grow. In June of 2017, the collaborative efforts of these departments will be showcased in a new publication coauthored by Dr. Suzanne Hetzel Campbell and Dr. Karen Daley entitled Simulation Scenarios for Nursing Educators, Making it Real 3rd Edition.