Breaking Barries, Building Bridges: Advancing Interprofessional Collaboration through Pediatric Critical Simulation




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Facilitating exposure of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is a critical approach to fostering a seamless transition from academics to professional practice. In response, we present a collaborative effort between the student leaders of the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) Simulation Initiative for Medical Simulation (SIMS). Past research conducted at this university has identified the benefits of conducting interprofessional critical care simulation events between groups of student physicians and student pharmacists. During this third iteration of interprofessional simulation events, teams of student pharmacists and physicians worked together utilizing the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) algorithms to manage simulated medical emergencies of pediatric patients. The simulated cases included ventricular tachycardia and a critical condition status post-drowning case.

The two main objectives of the collaboration included our primary objective of improving communication and teamwork skills through collaborative management of simulated pediatric medical emergencies. Our other key objective was enhancing the clinical decision-making abilities of student pharmacists and physicians. Specifically, how students can utilize the strengths of the other profession to help overcome the unique challenges presented during a simulated pediatric critical care scenario.

We assessed our objectives by having our participants complete a pre-and post-simulation survey with unique questions for the student pharmacists and physicians. Each question was tied back to a primary concept and contained a 5-point Likert Scale statement. The responses were analyzed using a two-sided, unpaired T-test to determine the significance between our pre and post-survey results.

A total of 48 students participated in the simulation event; 34 student physicians and 14 student pharmacists. These students were broken up into teams of 2-3 student pharmacists working collaboratively in teams with 5 student physicians. Each team utilized the PALS algorithms to manage the simulated cases. All ten student physicians and all four student pharmacist questions had an increase in average response when comparing our pre- and post-simulation surveys. However, due to a decrease in post-survey responses and our small sample size, six out of ten student physician questions and none of our student pharmacists questions had a statistically significant difference (p<0.05). Future studies incorporating a larger sample size and additional interprofessional professions may improve the statistical limitations. This study showed a significant improvement in student physicians’ understanding of pharmacists’ roles in critical scenarios. Specifically, this improved a better understanding of protocol timings involved in managing critically ill pediatric patients. The primary concepts that showed an improvement in this study included interprofessional communication, confidence in the ability to manage a critical care scenario, and the importance of an interprofessional approach to patient care.

This study expanded upon past research which demonstrated the benefits of interprofessional educational simulations, by focusing on a special population; pediatrics. Increasing interprofessional collaboration in future simulated events, especially in special populations will undoubtedly broaden student knowledge and foster a seamless transition to professional practice.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 2024 Interprofessionalism Award