The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences prides itself on interdisciplinary learning and innovative online programs. Dr. Amy Herrington, professor for the USAHS School of Nursing, merged these two concepts in the IPE 7133 course for students to gain valuable professional experience.
On November 4-7, in New Orleans, LA, six USAHS students and professor Dr. Amy Herrington presented at the AACE World Conference on E-Learning. Dr. Herrington mentored these students to create a published work, and introduced them to the professional research process.
Thomas Moore, OTD (MHA student), Dawn Onstott, RN (BSN-DNP student), Elizabeth McMaster, RN (BSN-DNP student) and Ausha Weathers PTA (MHS student) presented on interprofessional education and collaboration through the virtual immersion offered in IPE 7133. Their paper focused on how they were able to pull key concepts from the immersion and implement those directly into the workplace.
“As students of a completely online program, the chance to collaborate outside the classroom on something that isn’t just an assignment, but exposure to a professional practice of publication and presentation experience at a world-wide association conference is new and exciting for all of us,” student presenter Dawn Onstott said.
The second paper, which DNP students Jessica Jose, RN and Amanda Savage, RN, presented focused on adult learning principles and shared the impact of the practica experience occurring simultaneously with the strategic planning and accounting courses.
“Jess lives and works in California where I live and work in Maine,” Amanda Savage said. “We are both enrolled in the BSN to DNP program, and although our lives, states, and work history are very different, we have come together to work collaboratively on the same objectives in these courses.”
The students were extremely excited for this professional opportunity, and grateful that Dr. Herrington reached out with the idea. Dr. Herrington reviewed and edited both groups’ papers and saw potential for the topics to go further. She helped mentor the students on how to create a professional presentation and an article for publication.
Students agreed that the experience of working together with Dr. Herrington to produce a published work inspired them to continue in research to help better their fields.
“I feel I have truly improved my interprofessional collaborations within my work environment,” Ausha Weathers said. “Not only through communication, but through greater respect and understanding of other health professionals.”
Dr. Herrington loved the passion students had about their presentations. They were able to take what they were learning in the classroom and immediately apply it to the workplace, which fueled their learning further.
This kind of interprofessional collaboration prepares USAHS students to collaborate and work in teams with other healthcare professionals, and provide quality care to patients across varied healthcare settings.
“We want our students to be work ready at the end of their program, but we want to keep them passionate now,” Dr. Herrington said. “They have to be able to use what they’re learning at work right now.”