Monday, January 16, 2012

At Loyola University Chicago, Medical and Nursing Students are Learning Together

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- In the traditional practice of medicine, the physician is boss, and tells everyone else what to do.

But at Loyola University Chicago, medical and nursing students are learning a new model, in which doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals work as a team. Loyola is among the first universities in the United States to teach such a collaborative model.

Loyola's new Interprofessional Leadership Committee is developing a joint curriculum in which select classes will include both nursing and medical students. The classes will be co-taught by faculty from Loyola's Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Such collaboration makes sense in many areas of medicine. For example, what medical students learn in performing health assessments is similar to what advanced-practice nurses learn.

A new Center for Collaborative Learning, now under construction, will be located between the nursing and medical schools. Its features include a state-of-the-art clinical simulation center with a six-bed virtual hospital and home-care environment. Teams of nursing, medical and health-science students will learn how to better care for patients.

Also under development is a new Institute for Interprofessional Education.

The new initiative is a big change from the traditional model, in which residents, consulting physicians and nurses suppressed their opinions and deferred to the attending physician, said  Aaron Michelfelder, MD, FAAFP, FAAMA, co-chair of the Interprofessional Leadership Committee.

The old model, Michelfelder said, can lead to medical mistakes. "The safest and most efficient way to care for patients is to have a team model," he said.

In the new model, nurses, doctors and other clinicians work as a team, and no one is afraid to speak up. Everyone works together to develop the best plan for treating each patient, said Fran R. Vlasses, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN, co-chair of the Interprofessional Leadership Committee.

"There aren't many nursing schools that can say they have a great relationship with an energetic, forward-thinking medical school," Vlasses said. "This is what sets us apart."

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.