Monday, Oct. 16, students from nine health care disciplines met in the David B. Burks American Heritage Building for the eighth gathering of A Night at the Round Table. This interdepartmental event challenged students from different programs to work together through ethical case studies. These cases simulate scenarios students may encounter in their respective fields and allows them to experience how they will interact with other professionals in providing different aspects of a patient’s care.
Melanie Meeker, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, shared that it can be a challenge to create an event relevant to undergraduate and graduate students alike, but she felt that there are benefits for all students involved in the interprofessional education (IPE) exercise. More than 450 students from professional counseling, communication science and disorders, athletic training, physician assistant, pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing, dietetics and social work participated in the exercise.
“I think it’s wonderful for students to sit around a table with other disciplines,” Meeker said. “I think they always walk away learning more about what somebody else does than what they knew two hours ago. There is something to be said for learning to express your professional opinion. Part of what we do here is help them learn how to speak up. They’ve got an opinion and they can voice it, even at a small table of 10 colleagues.”
Peyton Woodruff is a professional counseling student and plans to graduate with her master’s in clinical health counseling December 2018. She has attended previous IPE events during her time as a student and shared that they always remind her how important it is to be able to work in an interdisciplinary setting.
“Getting to practice this important skill with all the different departments at Harding is such a humbling experience,” Woodruff said. “I always leave having learned so much more about each program represented. It gives us the opportunity to learn more about different professions, while also giving us the opportunity to learn from each other and learn how to work together. It also gives us a greater understanding of what each profession does so that we have a more concrete understanding when we refer clients in the future.”
Emily Giboney plans to graduate from the Carr College of Nursing BSN program in December 2018. Giboney was the only nursing student at her table during the IPE event and shared that it was interesting to learn what other professions were being taught about their roles in ethics.
“I learned a lot about the specific role that each health team member can play and about the importance of each of those roles,” Giboney said. “Our ultimate goal as health care professionals is to help patients, and we all have an individual part in that. It is essential to communicate and collaborate with all health team members to promote the best possible outcome for each patient.”
Robert Stewart is a communication sciences and disorders major who intends to pursue a master of speech language pathology. This was the third IPE he has attended, and the community aspect within these events has always been the most valuable to him.
“We were made for community, and I think people are best treated when various professionals come together to holistically care for someone,” Stewart said. “It is good to hear and see how other professionals practice and to see where we overlap in the treatment of a patient. Seeing how other fields complement our own and how ours can complement the practice of others is encouraging and energizing.”