Some Considerations in Developing a Clinical Practicum for Interdisciplinary Student Health Teams
This paper was originally published in the Proceedings of the First Annual Interdisciplinary Teams in Primary Care Conference, which took place May 3-5, 1979 in Seattle, Washington. It is reproduced here with the permission of the authors.
The current interest in primary health care teams has brought into focus some of the difficulties that health care providers experience in working effectively together. Students in medicine, nursing and the other health professions and occupations traditionally have little contact with each other during their professional education and still less planned, collaborative learning experience designed to promote interdisciplinary teamwork. Yet, upon graduation, they are expected to work effectively with one another in the community.
The University of Nevada, Reno, has addressed this issue by developing an interdisciplinary educational program for all students in the health sciences, starting at college entry and continuing throughout pre-professional and professional education. The underlying assumption is that by enabling students to share common learning experiences, they will develop more understanding and respect for each other's roles, which ultimately will result in better health care delivery. In 1973, a major grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave impetus to this program by adding an interdisciplinary faculty team of health professionals which provided a common core curriculum for all students in the health field, as well as a functioning role model of a primary health care team. The clinical component of this curriculum is the focus of this paper.