Education Event Brings Disciplines Together to Improve Patient Care
“The event emphasized the importance of collaboration among health care professionals in providing optimal patient care,” said Larissa D. Whitney, instructor of physician assistant studies, who led the team coordinating the event.
Over two days, 230 students worked together on simulated patient cases to evaluate, diagnose and provide treatment to mock patients portrayed by senior-level physician assistant students.
The cases took students throughout School of Health Sciences learning laboratories – and other areas of campus – as patients and their health care providers moved through mock emergency departments, hospital medical-surgical floors, operating suites, physical and occupational therapy facilities, a dental hygiene clinic and pre-hospital scenarios (emergency medical services).
When not “treating” a patient, students observed the action of others.
Each case concluded with a faculty-facilitated debriefing session. Thirty college faculty and staff members assisted with the event.
“An overwhelming number of students expressed a new understanding of collaboration and the roles of health care professionals in providing patient care,” Whitney said.
The Penn College School of Health Sciences has been coordinating an Interdisciplinary Professional Education event since 2014 to prepare its students to deliberatively work together with professionals in other disciplines as patients interact with each of them during their health care experience, with an ultimate goal to improve patient care.
The School of Health Sciences offers degrees in applied health studies, dental hygiene, emergency medical services, health information technology, nursing, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist assistant, physician assistant, radiography and surgical technology. To learn more, call 570-327-4519.
For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
– Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor
Emergency medical services students Ali T. Alnasir, of Williamsport, and Rachel L. Miller, of Mill Hall, talk with students from other majors about the actions they would take when called to a case of “syncope” – brief loss of consciousness – in the Klump Academic Center.
Occupational therapy assistant student Christine E. Jameson, of Chadds Ford, talks through means she would use to help a stroke patient, who has lost mobility in an arm, to do everyday tasks. Playing the role of the patient is physician assistant student Kurstyn T. Pfleegor, of Northumberland.
Physical therapist assistant student Emily C. Benjamin, of Fairport, N.Y., simulates a therapy session with “patient” Catherine A. Fisher, a physician assistant student from Elysburg. The simulated case escalated when the “patient” had a stroke during the session.
In the dental hygiene clinic, emergency medical services students Matthew S. Walter, of Mifflinburg, and Sarah A. Zimmerman, of Turbotville, are called to action when “patient” Season C. Whitenight, a physician assistant student from Bloomsburg, experiences anaphylaxis during her exam.
While classmates from other disciplines watch live on a big screen outside the simulated operating room, surgical technology students act out a surgical procedure.
In the dental hygiene clinic, Madyson N. Stiehler, a student in the dental hygiene: health policy and administration concentration, discusses actions that dental hygienists take when complications occur during an appointment.
Nursing students discuss their role in the event’s designated emergency department.