Physical Therapy graduate researched the benefits of interprofessional education

| Author: Hadlee Rinn, ORGS Intern | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Jocelynn Venema with posterDoctoral Physical Therapy graduate, Jocelynn Venema, researched interprofessional education (IPE) and the benefits of students collaborating from different areas in healthcare, specifically physical therapy (PT) and speech-language pathology (SLP) graduate students. The students participated in the Summer Specialty Clinic hosted by CMU’s department of Communication Science and Disorders. The clinic is designed for children and adolescents with communication disorders who can benefit from an intensive intervention program. PT students utilized evidence based active teaching strategies to develop an age appropriate, interactive lesson plan about the benefits of exercise.  The camp was “an opportunity for graduate students to serve their community and have a hands-on experience.”

When prepping for the camp, PT and SLP students had the opportunity to collaborate. The students were separated into smaller groups and given assignments. The PT students prepared presentations, during which they met with SLP students multiple times to get feedback. With assistance from the SLP students, PT students carried out the exercise education session with the children. PT students later wrote about their appreciation for having the SLP students to assist while giving the presentations and interacting with the children.

The purpose of Venema’s research was to show the benefits of hands-on learning, collaboration, and serving the community in an IPE setting. Venema says, “As a healthcare worker our job is service, so giving future clinicians this opportunity to serve is salient to their learning. We want to reach those in higher education to hopefully change how students are learning an important clinical skill.”

Venema was inspired to research this topic because of the work of Dr. Jamie Haines, the instructor for the course where PT students learn how to teach and educate others. Haines is passionate about IPE and worked with SLP faculty to facilitate the PT students integration into the summer camp. Venema explains, “I joined after they had collected 2 years of data and was interested in continuing the project because I feel CMU could have better IPE opportunities for all their healthcare programs. The experience Dr. Haines is creating for students is so valuable for learning and future clinical practice. She is restructuring how students are learning in the PT program for the better.”

Venema analyzed surveys and journals to demonstrate that the event benefited the PT and SLP students and was successful in creating a positive attitude toward IPE. Venema expresses that this is important across healthcare because collaboration is key in every medical profession.

This story is brought to you by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.