Interprofessional Clinical Education at a Student-run Free Clinic
Fourteen health professional programs at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center participate in a student-run free clinic, the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic (PNC). The PNC operates two nights each week and offers comprehensive clinical services, including medications and labs at no cost to patients. The mission of the PNC includes providing comprehensive care to underserved patients, developing cultural sensitivity and interprofessionalism for the student volunteers, and engaging broadly with the Phillips community in Minneapolis.
The longitudinal design of the volunteer experience at PNC provides opportunities for interprofessional development and direct patient care throughout students’ didactic education. Volunteers are selected based on application and interview for a two-year commitment in the fall of the first year of their programs. Student volunteers provide clinic support and community outreach during the first year of the program, and most transition to participating in clinical services as second-year students. All clinic patients are seen by interprofessional teams that include a minimum of two professions.
In 2018, the PNC had over 60 student leaders and 390 student volunteers from academic programs including medicine, pharmacy, nursing (both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs), physical therapy, dental, law, audiology, health administration, laboratory sciences, nutrition, public health, social work, and occupational therapy. PNC volunteers provided care for nearly 1,000 patients and performed 3,500 hours of community service outside of the clinic.
Conclusion and Takeaways:
University of Minnesota health professional students have the opportunity to direct their interprofessional education through participation and leadership in the PNC. By providing direct patient care together with students from many other professions, PNC volunteers hone their clinical skills and develop an appreciation for interprofessional teamwork that they carry into their future careers.