The literature emphasises the vital importance of interprofessional communication during clinical handover as being paramount to patient safety. At Charles Sturt University we explored how simulation can be employed in an interprofessional education (IPE) exercise exposing paramedic and nursing students to a high-pressure emergency department wherein they must engage in patient handover.
Over a 4-day period in April 2012, 200 paramedic and nursing students participated in an intensive simulation exercise where they practised interprofessional communication. The project team subsequently debriefed all student and staff members to gain insight through the participants’ experiences.
Our results demonstrated that students become more comfortable interacting and communicating with other team members during scenarios. In addition to experiencing first hand that IPE is an effective tool for developing communication skills, we determined that this could be successfully facilitated in a large-scale simulated IPE to help students develop a shared understanding between disciplines.
Academics can work horizontally across disciplines to employ IPE in simulation as an educational tool to teach vital communication skills; and with paramedicine now being taught alongside nursing in tertiary centres, universities are well positioned to support collaborative interprofessional practice and communication.
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