The second annual Interprofessional Education (IPE) simulation occurred recently in Saint John.

The entire day facilitated hands-on learning between third-year UNB Saint John Bachelor of Nursing (BN) students and third year New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) Respiratory Therapy (RT) students – using simulation as a tool to assist students in learning the importance of effective communication amongst the health-care team.

“Allowing students to learn with, and from, another health profession improves collaboration, which in turn supports better patient outcomes in the clinical setting,” said Karen Furlong, acting chair of nursing and health sciences at UNB Saint John.

While hosted by faculty within UNB Saint John’s department of nursing and health sciences and NBCC’s RT program, several faculty and students from Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) and NBCC’s practical nursing program attended as observers with the intention of having them attend next year.

The day’s focus was specific course outcomes using a simulated patient case ‘Patricia Black’ who was experiencing acute respiratory distress.

“Students came into the scenario knowing as much as they typically would if they were receiving a new patient for care in the clinical setting,” explained Dr. Furlong.

When students arrived in the simulator lab they were met with a high fidelity mannequin who they had to interact with as if it was a real patient. Students then had to work together to achieve the best outcomes for Ms. Black.

“Opportunities offered by days such as these help us achieve better communication, a better understanding of our perspectives and of our common ground, and a deeper understanding that we’re all in this together,” said Rob Boulay, DMNB postgraduate assistant dean.

“Providing learning experiences for our students to recognize the importance of IPE and the benefits for the patient as outcome from collaboration is critical,” said Tammie Fournier, NBCC RT program coordinator.

“With all of us located on one campus we have a wealth of resources in close proximity. We need to learn how to work together before we do actually work together.”

“I believe the passion we have for medical simulation not only contributed to the event’s success, but also helped to foster growth in the area of interprofessional collaboration among the students involved,” said John Doucet, RT instructor, NBCC.

Katie Gowlett, a second year BN student who was volunteering for the day, says it best. “Everyone knows the theory, we learn that in class. But when you are applying that theory and you can see the negative impact of not communicating well with each other, a light goes off in your head.”

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