COVID-19 required innovative approaches to educating health professions students who could no longer attend in-person classes or clinical rotations. Interprofessional education (IPE) activities were similarly impacted. To replace an in-person IPE activity slated for this spring, nursing and medical students with similar levels of clinical experience came together to attend a synchronous virtual session focused on discharge planning. Twenty-eight nursing students and eleven medical students attended a 90 minute session via Zoom. Students received pre-readings, the day’s agenda, learning objectives, and discussion questions in advance. The session had three sections: introduction/welcome, breakout sessions, and debrief and evaluation. Four faculty leaders and four students who participated in a similar in-person session in the past, served as facilitators. They received a facilitator guide for use if students were not able to sustain their discussions for the allotted time. Materials can be accessed by contacting the corresponding author (BR).
The class objectives focused on the IPEC competencies of Role/Responsibility and Interprofessional Communication. Discussion revolved around the discharge planning process for an elderly patient with multiple medical problems, as this is a time when interprofessional collaboration has a clear benefit to patients. Students completed a post-session survey, and qualitative analysis demonstrated that they had addressed the two relevant IPEC competencies in their groups and showed evidence of touching on the additional two IPEC competencies as well. Overall, they enjoyed the experience. This virtual experience made scheduling simpler than planning an in-person session and allowed this activity to go on despite restrictions secondary to the current pandemic. This might remain a useful format for similar sessions in the future.