Collaboration is a “Work of Art”
The 2019 Guidance on developing quality interprofessional education (IPE) for the health professions provides an exceptional blueprint for how to intentionally build interprofessional experiences. By bringing together leaders in IPE and accreditation, it suggests that intentional IPE should be built with outcomes based goals, deliberate design, and assessment throughout.
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we recognize the importance of initiating IPE as early as possible in the curriculum to set the stage for IPE and to raise awareness of how unintentional biases can be created before class activities begin. For that reason, we designed, implemented, and evaluated an interactive art event during the orientation process for incoming health professional students.
In partnership with our colleagues at the Ackland Art Museum, students were given a series of art activities (back-to-back drawing; close looking and collective problem solving; and personal reflection) to engage them in raising awareness of their roles in healthcare, the value of teamwork and collaboration, and understanding the patient’s story through artistic design. Each activity was carefully planned with health professional experts and the museum directors for academic and university programs, and mapped to IPEC competencies.
A pre-post assessment of interprofessional values was provided to students, and a formalized debrief was led by expert faculty in partnership with the art team. Descriptive themes (appreciation, value, respect, humility) and conceptual themes (communication, diverse perspectives, teamwork/team-based care, whole-patient care) were identified through qualitative analysis of open-ended questions.
Results, and positive feedback from students and organizers, have driven an effort by the University to scale-up the activity for widespread and sustainable implementation during orientation. Making this a required interprofessional experience for all entry-level professional students will help health professions students sharpen their observational and communication skills, teach them to value diverse perspectives, and prepare them for team-based care.