How do you conduct an interprofessional education (IPE) event during a pandemic? You get creative! Deemed their best IPE to date, the WCC Health Sciences Division conducted its interprofessional education (IPE) event virtually on March 11, 2021.

A total of 69 students and faculty participated in this year’s event. Disciplines involved included cardiovascular technicians, certified nursing assistants, emergency medical science (EMS), nursing, phlebotomy, radiography, and respiratory therapy.

Designed to teach students how to function, communicate, and collaborate with other disciplines during an emergency, an IPE event helps students understand their roles and responsibilities and of other members of the IPE team, gives them practice in critical thinking, helps them function as a member of a team, and incorporates values and ethics in shared decision-making.

The success of this year’s event was due in part to the months of research, planning and preparation that went into creating the virtual event. Those directly involved included WCC Simulation Coordinator/Instructor, Donna Greene; WCC Nursing Instructor, Dawn Hendren; and WCC Nursing Instructor, Valerie Bailey and a host of other health sciences faculty.

Greene’s role as a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator was to be a guide for the faculty in designing the IPE event around best practices for simulation. Upon completion of the faculty-designed scenario, Greene programmed the scenario into the simulation software and the patient monitor used during the event. Utilizing Microsoft Teams, Greene was able to display the patient monitor on the screen so that students and observers were able to view the patient vital signs and view changes in those vital signs, labs, and test results according to the interventions that were performed by the students. In addition, Greene was able to display photos of the mannequins during each step, which gave the students a more realistic experience. Already accustomed to the virtual learning environment through a solution called Collaborate, the students easily adapted to the virtual IPE scenario through Microsoft Teams.

Hendren’s roles included coordinating the IPE planning meetings throughout the year, inviting students and faculty to the event, and conducting the pre-briefing session in which she explained the knowledge, skills and abilities that were expected of each discipline.

Based on an end-of-life scenario, the event began with the patient presenting in the emergency department and transitioned to the intensive care unit. The patient began experiencing excessive secretions and was unable to protect his airway. Respiratory Therapy students were called to intubate the patient. Radiology students were called to x-ray after the intubation was performed to confirm that the tube was in place. As the patient’s condition continued to decline, students playing the roles of the physician and the patient’s son and daughter met to discuss end-of-life measures. Based on the patient’s wishes, the daughter made the decision to take her father off the ventilator.

A debriefing led by Nursing Instructor, Valerie Bailey, was held immediately following the event. Both observing students as well as students actively participating in the event were able to give feedback and ask questions. WCC Director of Counseling, Career Services & Student Life, Dr. Lynda Black was also present at the debriefing to provide support for the students.