Interprofessional Practice to Guide the Future of U.S. Healthcare and SMU Education

With studies showing that better teamwork among medical professionals enhances the quality and safety of healthcare, the new Affordable Care Act requires greater use of interprofessional practice. Faculty experts say Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is well poised to put the interdisciplinary approach into action among its programs.

“All of the models of healthcare reform are calling for team collaboration in the delivery of care,” said SMU Nursing Professor Karen Wolf. “Samuel Merritt University has a wonderful opportunity because we have multiple healthcare professions here and can put our students into teams to learn skills to be more effective in patient-centered care.”

Wolf has been passionate about interprofessional practice for much of her career. She spent the past four years as chair of the Nursing Academy of the National Academies of Practice (NAP), an organization dedicated to affordable, accessible, coordinated quality healthcare for all. NAP represents 10 different professions and informs public policy under the guiding principle that healthcare practice with an interprofessional foundation provides better care.

SMU is exploring ways to incorporate interprofessional education in its culture and curriculum. In his new role as assistant academic vice president, Dr. Terry Nordstrom is spearheading the SMU initiative, and has convened a steering committee of representatives from all university programs plus enrollment and student services to develop a vision and implement opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation.

“I intentionally chose faculty members with expertise in interprofessional practice who bring energy, excitement and commitment to it,” said Nordstrom.

Read more in the March issue of the eNews.

left: Dr. Karen Wolf
right: Dr. Terry Nordstrom

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