Project Enhances Teamwork Among Varied Health Professions

FAU and Boca Raton Regional Hospital have partnered on a unique project to eliminate barriers between healthcare disciplines and build crucial communication and teambuilding skills to support collaboration.

Florida Atlantic University’s Colleges of Nursing and Medicine have partnered with Boca Raton Regional Hospital on a unique project that aligns academic and healthcare delivery systems.


By gisele-galoustian | 10/6/2015

Caring for patients in an acute care setting in a hospital requires a team approach and involves a multitude of healthcare professionals including nurses, attending physicians, residents, case managers, pharmacists, and clinical psychologists to name a few. Each of these professions enters into practice with different skills sets, knowledge and professional identities that contribute to patient care. Yet, in many circumstances, barriers exist between disciplines that can obstruct a team-based system.

Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine have partnered with Boca Raton Regional Hospital (BRRH) on an innovative one-year project funded by The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. The project titled, “Aligning Education and Practice to Support Interprofessional Collaboration,” has been designed to bridge the gap between what is being taught in academia and lived in practice. Currently, FAU’s medical, nursing and social work students come together to learn the nationally recommended interprofessional competencies. However, this is a new trend in healthcare education, which historically was not part of the curriculum.

“We already have a well-established relationship with Florida Atlantic University and we welcome this new facet of our partnership,” said Charles Posternack, M.D., chief medical officer of BRRH. “This new project will enhance clear and efficient communication among members of the healthcare team and further our commitment to excellence in teaching and clinical practice.”

The objective of this project is to align academic and healthcare delivery system partners to create practice environments in the hospital setting, which support interprofessional collaboration and quality patient-centered outcomes. The project will initially focus on the discharge process at BRRH and will take place on three different units where care teams partner with patients and families within the hospital’s organization.

The project team will include two faculty members in FAU’s College of Nursing, the director of FAU’s internal medicine residency program, housed at BRRH, and BRRH’s director of medical staff, chief nursing officer, director of nursing, director of pharmacy, director of case management, a clinical psychologist, and a first- and second-year medical resident.

“By taking an interprofessional approach to training, we are building the crucial communication and teambuilding skills that are essential to support collaboration and quality patient-centered outcomes,” said Terry Eggenberger, Ph.D., assistant professor in FAU’s College of Nursing who is working with her collaborator Kathryn Keller, Ph.D., professor in FAU’s College of Nursing.

This project is an extension of initial work supported by a Christine E. Lynn research grant in FAU’s College of Nursing, which focused on interviews with frontline providers from medicine, nursing, pharmacy and case management to determine where interprofessional competencies could be strengthened.

Strategies and interventions of the new project will include interprofessional rounds with healthcare providers, development of faculty and practice champions, and development of a repository for resources to support the initiative.

“We realized that the addition of medical residents at Boca Raton Regional Hospital would present opportunities for interprofessional education across the lifelong learning continuum,” said Bernardo Obeso, M.D., director of FAU’s internal medicine residency program. “It is our goal to expand this model to address other collaborative care processes within Boca Raton Regional Hospital and then to other local hospitals and out-patient clinics where our internal medicine residency programs will be housed.”

FAU and BRRH will initiate the project with a survey that will include several items that address the frequency, timeliness and accuracy of the patient discharge process as well as how groups involved relate and interact with each other. They also will address problem solving, communication, sharing goals and knowledge, and mutual respect while facilitating patient discharge.

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