March 11, 2020

Nursing students practise collaboration with other health-care team members

Students in health care at UCalgary, Mount Royal University and SAIT learn essential interdisciplinary teamwork skills before entering clinical environment

Today’s nurses must collaborate effectively with all different members of a health-care team to ensure proper care and to improve patient outcomes. To do that, they must understand each member’s education, scope of practice and areas of expertise.

“Interprofessional collaboration is about knowing who’s the expert in what,” says nursing student Alyssa Echano, one of 13 Faculty of Nursing students who attended the HIPE Hospital Day on Feb. 29.  

Organized and hosted entirely by student leaders in SAIT’s HIPE (Healthcare Interprofessional Education) Club and Calgary’s SIC (Students for Interprofessional Collaboration) Committee, the full day event brought together students from UCalgary Nursing, Cumming School of Medicine, MRU Nursing and SAIT’s respiratory therapy, paramedicine and medical lab tech programs.

Students were put into multidisciplinary teams and go through different educational stations and simulations that imitate a real-life hospital experience. They get help from faculty members from each respective institution and volunteer instructors and professors who help run and debrief the simulations.

“It’s a good way for different students to learn about different professions, and learn how to collaborate,” says Dr. Cydnee Seneviratne, PhD, UCalgary Nursing senior instructor, who volunteered that day.

“We need healthcare professionals who can learn to collaborate on an interprofessional level to ensure optimal patient and family care. Simulations like this, where there’s facilitators from different professions, takes place off campus, and in a new environment - really promotes the feeling of an interprofessional event.”

This is the third year this annual event has been run, and it has grown significantly since its start. The first HIPE Hospital Day in 2018 had half the number of student participants — six groups of about six students. This year, approximately 100 students attended.

“It’s all about learning about the different scopes of different professions and collaborating with them in stressful situations,” says third-year nursing student Harneek Kapoor. “We are all still learning and knowing what we can bring to the table.”