North Central Indiana AHEC organizes “Interprofessional Experience” pilot program at Logansport Memorial Hospital

Last Updated on March 19, 2017 by cassnetwork

The North Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (AHEC) organized a month long Interprofessional Experience (IPE) in partnership with Logansport Memorial Hospital (LMH), the IU School of Medicine (IUSM), and the Purdue University College of Pharmacy. IPE is a national movement in clinical education and this pilot program at LMH is the first in Logansport. IPE enables healthcare students to work in teams, resulting in higher quality health care, more comprehensive patient care and healthier communities.

The goal is for learners to have hands-on experiences while working in health care teams during their training so they can work more effectively in teams when they graduate. Underlying that goal is mounting evidence that working in teams yields safer care and better health care outcomes. According to Dr. Andrea Pfeifle, Director, Interprofessional Practice and Education Center at Indiana University, “each of IU’s health science schools produces graduates who are well prepared to work in their particular health field, but until recently they were not necessarily well prepared to work in teams.”

Knowing that, IU has pushed for more IPE experiences.

Purdue pharmacy student Trexie Rudd and 3rd year IU medical student Paul Scheidler will cross train with family practice physician, Dr. Dallis Bowditch, Hospitalist Dr. Ben Anderson, and other providers during their time at LMH.

Dr. Anderson says, “The fields of medicine and pharmacology are becoming increasingly intertwined, with pharmacy students needing more clinical emphasis in their education. Aspiring pharmacists need to be exposed to that, and I am glad to be part of a program that can assist with it.”

Rudd, a Rossville native, says her experience in Logansport has been very valuable.

As a student, I believe it’s extremely important to learn from a doctor as part of my education. The field of pharmacy is evolving, with pharmacists becoming more and more involved in various aspects of patient care for inpatients and outpatients.”

Rudd and Scheidler, a Greentown native, will also complete a medication reconciliation project together. Medication reconciliation is the process of creating the most accurate list possible of all medications a patient is taking. Scheidler believes he and Rudd have learned a great deal from each other.

“We each bring something different to the table with our different educational backgrounds, and it’s been really fun putting our heads together analyzing how the hospital goes about transitioning patient care between providers.”

Brian Shepler is the Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning and Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice for the Purdue University College of Pharmacy. Shepler is pleased with the interaction between Rudd and Scheidler and says, “Placing pharmacy students with students from other disciplines, especially medicine, in rural areas of the state can be a win-win for all parties. The students learn from each other and develop mutual respect for what each discipline can bring to the table. They learn each other’s strengths and how to best maximize these for overall betterment of the patient, especially in underserved rural areas where access to top quality care can sometimes be a challenge.”

AHEC has placed nearly 50 medical students in rotations throughout Central Indiana over the past five years. The program is growing and AHEC will place over 25 IUSM students in rural parts of North Central Indiana over the next eighteen months.

Dr. Dallis Bowditch will teach several of those students. He believes it is important to pass along healthcare education for those looking to enter the medical field.

“Getting medical students like Paul more involved in experiences on the frontlines of primary care is beneficial for them to see what kinds of responsibilities are part of being a physician in a rural community.”

Working with facilities like LMH and its Director of Care Coordination and Clinical Manager for the Logansport Memorial Physician Network, Crystal Zinsmeister is vital to the placement of students. Students are typically surprised not only by the relationships that the patients and providers have in rural communities, but also by the amount of work we can do at a rural facility.

“Small rural facilities doesn’t always mean that we are only doing basic care,” she says. “When they see that we are doing total joint replacements, we have multiple specialist working with the patients from cancer care to pulmonology to women’s health they are typically surprised.  It gives them a whole new perspective of rural medicine.”

AHEC is a national program funded largely in Indiana by the State Department of Health. The North Central Indiana AHEC is hosted by the Fulton Economic Development Corporation from where it oversees healthcare education programs in eleven counties. AHEC runs summer experiences for high school students in healthcare careers and provides continuing education opportunities for existing providers.

SOURCE: News release from North Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (AHEC)