A Framework for Web-Based Interprofessional Education for Midwifery and Medical Students
Scheduling interprofessional team-based activities for health sciences students who are geographically dispersed, with divergent and often competing schedules, can be challenging. The use of Web-based technologies such as 3-dimensional (3D) virtual learning environments in interprofessional education is a relatively new phenomenon, which offers promise in helping students come together in online teams when face-to-face encounters are not possible. The purpose of this article is to present the experience of a nurse-midwifery education program in a Southeastern US university in delivering Web-based interprofessional education for nurse-midwifery and third-year medical students utilizing the Virtual Community Clinic Learning Environment (VCCLE). The VCCLE is a 3D, Web-based, asynchronous, immersive clinic environment into which students enter to meet and interact with instructor-controlled virtual patient and virtual preceptor avatars and then move through a classic diagnostic sequence in arriving at a plan of care for women throughout the lifespan. By participating in the problem-based management of virtual patients within the VCCLE, students learn both clinical competencies and competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice, as described by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. This article is part of a special series of articles that address midwifery innovations in clinical practice, education, interprofessional collaboration, health policy, and global health.