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 with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, 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 92 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities - that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.