Lightning Talk

NOT Social Distancing: Getting Students to “Meet Your Neighbors” as a First-year Interprofessional Activity

Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Interprofessional education (IPE) is a key component in health professions education to prepare students for practice. Breaking down barriers and stereotypes about other professions early in a student’s education is important to future team-readiness. While we know that it is important to expose students to IPE early in their curriculum, it can be challenging to identify activities for early program students who have a variety of clinical experiences and expectations. In this “Meet Your Neighbors” (MYN) activity, all first-year pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, and nursing students (n=580) participated in a required exercise to “learn from, with, and about” themselves as members of a healthcare team and the role of other professionals as team members. To help students develop their own role identity, students wrote an individual reflection on motivations for pursuing their profession and its impact on healthcare. Students were then assigned to an interprofessional group of 3-5 students to meet with at their own convenience. Each student read their reflections to the group, and discussed the similarities and differences of their reflections. After the discussion, students wrote a collective reflection on what they learned from meeting with other health professional students and participated in a debrief. Pre- and post-activity surveys based on IPEC competencies were administered. The survey showed improved confidence across all IPEC competencies. Specifically, students confidence improved in explaining roles and responsibilities (pre: 44.3%; post: 86.8%) and describing how professionals can collaborate and integrate interventions (pre: 50.5%; post: 90.5%). Confidence in communicating roles (pre: 63.9%; post: 89.1%) and forging interdependent relationships (pre: 59.6%; post: 88.5%) also improved. Students’ ability to articulate their own roles on the healthcare team and confidence in interprofessional interactions improved after participating in the MYN exercise. The MYN exercise provided a unique method to engage learners in IPE prior to clinical matriculation.