Enriching the Medical Student Experience in the Duke Interprofessional Education Clinic with Registered Nurse Faculty Educators
Duke University School of Medicine, started an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Clinic in December 2014 for medical students in conjunction with the nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs. The directly observed clinic is located within the emergency department (ED) and provides care to low acuity ED patients. When initially formed, there was no dedicated registered nurse (RN) presence, and this lack of RN faculty, was identified early on as an area that could increase clinic efficiency, improve patient care, and contribute to the education of the students within the IPE clinic.
Beginning in late 2015, dedicated but infrequent RN faculty staffing was initiated, which was then expanded to nightly coverage in 2017. At the beginning in July 2018, the perceived added value of RN faculty to medical student education was assessed through a mandatory survey that all medical students take upon completion of their IPE clinical shift. Medical students were asked how the RN faculty contributed to their education and students were able to select one or more specific ways in which their education was enhanced by the nursing faculty.
Medical students reported that the RN faculty educated them regarding: 1) Triage/Estimated Severity Index, 28%, 2) Medication reconciliation, 8%, 3) Use of specific practices and protocols, 29%, 4) Prompts for interventions, 9%, 5) Discharge instructions, 21%, and 6) Other, 5%.
These percentages are similar for the other professional students but lower in the area of “prompts for interventions.”
The addition of RN faculty to the IPE clinic model enriched the medical students’ education in multiple different areas, and allowed the medical students to see how nursing can partner in the care of patient and what their scope of practice adds. This is important, as RN faculty educators are often underutilized in the field of undergraduate medical education, and this early learner exposure can help strengthen interprofessional bonds that can be enduring.