Learners as Leaders: Interprofessional Practice and Leadership in a Student Run Free Clinic

Monday, August 19, 2019, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Hyatt Greenway G Room
Theme: Optimizing the Interprofessional Clinical Learning Environment

The potential for interprofessional practice to improve patient’s lives rests not only on improved interprofessional education and interprofessional teamwork, but also on interprofessional leadership at all levels of health care. While there are increasing opportunities for interprofessional practice to occur in clinical settings, opportunities for execution of leadership skills within an interprofessional context are few.

This presentation will explore how the partnership between the University of Michigan School of Nursing and the University of Michigan Student Run Free Clinic (UMSRFC) led to changes in the leadership structure and function of the UMSRFC and of the faculty advisory board. The UMSRFC was a medical student initiative overseen by a medical school advisory board. With the Nexus IPE Initiative new opportunities emerged to initiate interprofessional care delivery and to explore leadership structure and function for the UMSRFC. Over time, students from an increasing number of health professions became involved in clinic leadership and led the faculty and advisory board to re-consider previous limitations on what is possible. Students advocated to overcome barriers to full interprofessional practice in response to patient needs. Interprofessional collaboration with nursing, social work, dentistry and pharmacy supported critical initiatives to improve patient care. Clinical preceptors from medicine engaged in the nurse led clinic session to learn how interprofessional clinical teaching is being operationalized by Nurse Practitioners and Pharmacy residents.

Challenges and successes at the micro-, meso- and macro- levels from our experiences over the past three years demonstrate the impact of our learners as leaders in interprofessional practice. The importance of critical concepts from the National Collaborative for Improving the Clinical learning Environment- including advocacy for interprofessional learning, distributed team leadership, and shared decision making will be demonstrated. Participants will consider how these concepts relate to their own efforts to improve interprofessional learning environments.