On Our Radar Fall 2013

Potential employers particularly value students with well-developed people skills and teamwork experiences. These skills include:

  • learning to work together towards a common goal,
  • communicating ideas to peers with different backgrounds,
  • appreciating diverse thinking approaches,
  • planning large projects,
  • meeting deadlines,
  • enjoying the competitive spirit, etc.”

Indeed teamwork is a crucial part of the curriculum at the College of Health Professions as well as in the healthcare workforce.

A patient’s care is often coordinated among different groups of people – nurses, doctors, pharmacists, physician assistants, just to name a few.  Though these groups might have different backgrounds and perspectives, they must all work together to ensure optimal care, a skill that is woven throughout our curriculum for this reason.

One example of students working in teams is our simulation sessions which have been integrated into the majority of undergraduate courses in the RN4 and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs. As a teaching-learning strategy, simulation by its very nature is based on the concept of teamwork, including learning to work together toward a common goal, communicating ideas to peers with different backgrounds, appreciating diverse thinking approaches, meeting deadlines, and enjoying the competitive spirit.  CHP is also taking part in interprofessional simulations with PA and FNP students. 

In addition to simulation sessions, students in the Accelerated BSN undertake an evidence-based practice (EBP) project each semester in a team.  The students work together to decide on their EBP project (discussing, debating, advocating for their own idea) and then develop and present it in a team.  In each of these projects, there is also a peer review component, where the students rate their teammates and provide feedback.  For example, students taking the course “Clinical Management of Population Health” work with their clinical group and clinical site staff, utilizing interprofessional principles of communication to identify a practice improvement that will meet a need within the client population.  The student teams start by formulating a “PICO” question. PICO is an acronym for patient problem or population, intervention, comparison, and outcome.  Then they search for the best evidence in the research literature, create a poster that synthesizes the best evidence supporting the proposed practice improvement, and present their poster to staff and clients in their clinical site. They also present the poster in a formal session at Mt. Sinai Nursing Research Day, at the Lienhard Nursing Scholarship Day Event, or at the ABSN Recognition Ceremony & Orientation Event.

In the PA program, students work as part of a healthcare team throughout the entire clinical year with their preceptor, attending and resident physicians, nurse practitioners, medical assistant, office staff, other PA and medical students, nutritionists and other healthcare workers.  They undertake group work including:

  • A literature review master's projects
  • Ortho in the Park -- After students have completed their orthopedic lectures, they utilize their observation skills to identify orthopedic problems in all age groups, from children playing in playgrounds to young adult runners/athletes to senior citizens.  The students compete in teams to identify the most orthopedic complaints.
  • Volunteer activities such as blood bank, PA Jeopardy, and Student Association of the New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA)

Students in our graduate nursing program also participate in teams.  In one course, each team is assigned a primary health care issue such as poverty, education, water, the environment, or safety.  The team explores the issue and presents it from their perspective and an opposing perspective.  In addition to articulating the significance of their issue, they identify key stakeholders and the primary audience for their advocacy effort.  They also prepare a fact sheet of pertinent evidence. During the final on-campus session, each team shares a short presentation of their team project for the entire class. In this way, all students are exposed to findings related to the other four primary health care focal issues.

Another graduate assignment focuses on nursing leadership.  Each team identifies a nursing leader, based on the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame Website or American Academy of Nursing Living Legends, and gives a presentation about the leader and his or her impact in healthcare.

In addition to the projects described above, another graduate team project focuses on health care disparities.  Each group presents a summary of the outcomes of their project to the entire class. In addition to the PowerPoint presentation, a paper presentation is submitted including all the details of the project and each student reflection of the group project and group process.

Another project that Nursing Education students undertake has each group develop a project that could be used in an educational setting.  The students answer these questions:

1) What is the name of the course that the issue will be presented?
2) What is the overall placement of the course in the curriculum i.e., Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior?
3) What it the issue or topic of interest?
4) Why are you placing this topic in this specific course?
5) Who is the population that you are teaching?
6) What is the specific content you wish to convey?
7) Provide an overview of the teaching strategies you might use based on the theoretical framework?
8) What methods of evaluation will you devise, and provide a rationale for the selection of these specific evaluation methods.

In another nursing project, students work in teams to investigate a healthcare information system or healthcare information application in their area of interest. Students work together to identify advantages and disadvantages of the current healthcare information technology system and examine ways to improve its barriers of adoption. Students also discuss legal and ethical concerns associated with the system and discuss how their healthcare information system can impact population health.

A final example of teamwork within the CHP curriculum is the Testimony Panel Team Presentation.  The purpose of this assignment is to learn how to engage policymakers who are involved in a huge range of topics. Students are tasked with presenting health policy issues to policymakers in a way that enhances their understanding of how policies are impacting people and communities.  Providing policymaking bodies with testimony is one way for advanced practice RNs to effectively influence health policy. Students are asked to explain an issue briefly and powerfully in easy-to-understand language. Their recommendation(s) must be highly specific—building a case with both evidence and poignant narrative for what they want the policymaker to do. If there is strong stakeholder opposition, students must address this, inoculate against it, and anticipate questions. Professors hope to be thoroughly convinced that the students’ recommendation must be pursued. This presentation must be precise and concise without getting lost in too much detail or jargon.