Interprofessional Education

At USAHS, we’re developing healthcare practitioners who are skilled at communicating and collaborating harmoniously with team members from other disciplines. To that end, we have embraced interprofessional education (IPE) and have integrated IPE coursework and clinical simulation activities across our programs.

What’s the advantage of collaborative healthcare?

Today’s patients often have complex problems that need attention from practitioners across disciplines. A siloed approach to patient care, where each practitioner treats in isolation, can lead to communication failure—a leading cause of serious medical error.The Joint Commission, “Patient Safety”. In contrast, an interprofessional team approach is correlated with higher patient satisfaction ratings and better health outcomes.Scott Reeves et al., “Interprofessional education: effects on professional practice and health care outcomes (update),” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, March 28, 2013.

To transform the culture of healthcare into a more collaborative environment, healthcare education has also needed to transform, moving steadily in recent years toward IPE.Jordan Utley et al., Interprofessional Education and Collaboration: An Evidence-Based Approach to Optimizing Health Care. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 2020.

What is interprofessional education?

According to the World Health Organization, interprofessional education is a style of teaching in which “two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”World Health Organization (WHO), “Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice.” Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, 2010.

In our IPE courses and activities, students practice delivering a holistic, collaborative approach to safe healthcare. Our students often remark that the most important thing they learn from their IPE courses is how to speak a common language free of discipline-specific terminologies.Jordan Utley et al., Interprofessional Education and Collaboration: An Evidence-Based Approach to Optimizing Health Care. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 2020. IPE promotes mutual understanding and reduces hierarchies.Sabine Homeyer et al., “Effects of IPE for medical and nursing students: enablers, barriers and expectations for optimizing future IP collaboration—a qualitative study.” BMC Nursing, April 10, 2018. It also helps our students prepare to practice in the real world—or expand their skillset as professionals.

How Does IPE Work at USAHS?

IPE is core to our teaching methodology at USAHS. We have incorporated IPE, and we are expanding its reach across all University programs, through the following means:



IPE aspects are integrated within each program, whether in didactic coursework, clinical simulations, or clinical immersion sessions (depending on the program). Activities center around four core competencies defined by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC). They are scaffolded so that students’ skills and knowledge build in a logical sequence.



Our state-of-the-art clinical simulation centers give students the chance to practice interprofessional teamwork with their peers in other healthcare disciplines. For example, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy students collaborate to treat patients within a simulated real-life professional and physical environment.



Among the USAHS faculty are several champions who are passionate about IPE and who have spearheaded its success within the University. Our faculty are in the exciting position to influence the future of healthcare through the IPE activities they create. And they have made USAHS a thought leader within the space of interprofessional learning through simulation.

Some Examples of IPE @ USAHS

Virtual IPE simulations

During the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty created several interprofessional clinical simulations that leveraged gaming technology, virtual escape rooms, and 360-degree virtual environments.

Interprofessional pro bono clinic

On the USAHS campus in St. Augustine, Florida, PT and OT students collaborate on treating patients from the local community.

PTs working with OTs

From their very first week of classes, our physical therapy and occupational therapy students work together in our clinical simulation labs—solving puzzles, reviewing charts, communicating with patients, and practicing clinical skills.

SLPs working with PTs and OTs

In complex scenarios in our simulation labs, speech-language pathology students collaborate with their peers in our PT and OT programs, learning how to communicate with each other and treat the patient as a team.

Collaborative tech tools

The Double telepresence robots in our simulation centers enable interprofessional collaboration and remote consultation. Healthcare providers communicate with patients and team members through a robot that provides a human-like presence through a screen.

IPE in health sciences and nursing programs

This post celebrates the launch of the first IPE course in our online post-professional programs in 2017. We now have several IPE courses within these programs.

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Clinical Simulation Labs

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Modern Learning Spaces

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Dynamic Blended Learning

Dynamic Blended Learning

Blended learning merges digitally delivered coursework together with immersive on-campus experiences and clinical fieldwork.

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