in professional schools learn to collaborate
27, 2000, Gazette)
One of the teams that worked on
an interdisciplinary project last semester (L-R): Karen Antle,
Centre for Nursing Studies; Wanda Harvey, Pharmacy; Jill Hart,
Nursing; Melissa Andrews, Centre for Nursing Studies; Jennifer
Lahey, Nursing; Trina Acreman, Nursing; Stephanie Mealey, Social
Work; Jake Khoubian, Medicine; and (sitting) tutor Marge Hackett,
teamwork is a key concept in todays healthcare system,
and now students in four of Memorials professional schools
are gaining early experience working together.
students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work took
part in a pilot interdisciplinary project last semester. Each
group was assigned to work on a case representing an issue in
the area of health promotion, such as steroid use, smoking or
were assigned a faculty tutor, a volunteer faculty member from
one of the four disciplines, who facilitated two group meetings
and was available for consultation by the group.
the different timetables of students in each program, most of
the work had to be done during evenings or weekends, but that
didnt deter students from giving their full effort. Results
were demonstrated in a variety of ways such as videos, brochures
and role playing as well as oral and written presentations.
were encouraged to access local subject experts, community resources
and electronic databases. The project was completed by the submission
of reports from each individual and an oral presentation by the
group in a plenary session.
had to demonstrate that they had acquired the perspectives of
the other health care disciplines, display appropriate group
working skills, and use appropriate evidence-based professional
practice skills in collecting and analyzing data, said
Dr. Thomas Scott, Medicine.
from the St. Johns campus and the Centre for Nursing Studies
participated directly in the project, and nursing students at
Western Memorial in Corner Brook had a more limited participation
via e-mail. Nursing students made up the largest number of students
working on this course and were also generally the youngest,
since students can be admitted to nursing directly from high
school whereas medical students must already have a degree.
Marge Hackett, Nursing, said some of the nursing students felt
they were at a bit of a disadvantage because of the difference
in age and experience from students in the other disciplines.
In Social Work and Pharmacy, students have at least two years
experience on campus before entering their professional schools.
noted that working in an interdisciplinary team took place at
the same time as their introduction to their own profession.
positive that it is necessary to demonstrate the value of interdisciplinary
work, but Im not sure the first semester is the best time
to do this.
Fitzpatrick, Social Work, agreed that students in their first
semester of professional training dont really know their
own discipline yet. Despite this, she noted that in their evaluations
many social work students commented that the experience last
semester allowed them to see how other professionals think and
approach issues, and see issues beyond the medical ones. She
also pointed out that besides last semesters project, many
social work courses include content on interdisciplinarity and
who worked directly with the social work students, Dr. Mike Ungar,
said he felt it was important to discuss issues raised in the
project with the students during class time. He said overall
the social work students were positive about the project, though
some felt it would be better to do it in their second semester.
Hensman, Pharmacy, said the interdisciplinary project was a really
good idea, although something of a logistical problem.
were evaluated differently, and there were differences in tutors
expectations. But from the perspective of the students, we received
a very positive feedback on the interaction with fellow students
in different disciplines.
said the interdisciplinary project was based on the philosophy
that earlier is better and that the different disciplines should
carry out some problem solving together.
the very least it meant all these students from the various schools
met and talked to each other in this building (Health
Sciences Centre) we have nursing, pharmacy and medical students
who have traditionally not known each other well at all.
This is the
first time an interdisciplinary project has counted for credit
for students in all four disciplines, although a project on HIV/AIDS
has taken place each spring for the past few years involving
students from the four schools but counting as credit only in
nursing and social work. Based on the evaluations from last semesters
pilot project, the four schools plan on continuing similar interdisciplinary
work throughout professional training.