Trackside partnership produces multiple winners

Two GPRs and a NP student perform oral examDuring a check-up at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center (KRHSC), one patient is diagnosed with an abscessed tooth and another patient receives an oral exam as part of a routine check-up.

Under the leadership of University of Louisville assistant professor Dedra Hayden, APRN-BC, UofL nurse practitioner students and dental students and residents are working together to provide top-quality health care to backside track workers who cannot afford care. This is part of a UofL effort that began in spring 2013 to engage students from the two professions in inter-professional education with the goal to improve the patient experience once these students become practitioners. And at the same time, expanding access to health care.

“This program has provided me additional education in oral manifestations and pathology, and has enhanced my GPR and NP student perform oral examcommunication skills when collaborating with other disciplines – facilitating my development as a thorough provider for my future patients,” said nurse practitioner student Kelly Stice, BSN, RN, CCRN.

“These interactions help us feel more comfortable interacting with other professions; it is helpful to learn how a nurse practitioner makes a diagnosis and treatment plan for a patient with diabetes, for example,” said general practice resident Lauren Parsons, DMD.

Supported through a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration grant, nursing and dental students are engaged in joint seminars, standardized patient learning and clinical experiences to better identify and manage systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that are sometimes linked to oral health.

Preliminary data show students in both professions have improved confidence in their ability to function as a member of an interdisciplinary team after going through the new learning model, a success that School of Nursing Director of Practice and International Affairs, Whitney Nash, PhD, APRN, presented at an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee workshop, Assessing Health Professional Education.

The IOM has said the impact of inter-professional education (IPE) could be measured by improvement in population health outcomes; better patient care; more inter-professional collaboration/understanding; and maximum value of services at lower costs.