Monday Memo 04/13/2020

The Monday Memo

April 13th, 2020                                                                       PITT DPT STUDENTS

My Day In An Interprofessional Education Program

In the fall, I was lucky enough to be chosen to spend a day at UPMC Presbyterian engaged in an interprofessional educational program. Our own faculty member, Dr. Vicki Hornyak, is the director of this program. I have since reflected on this day and how I believe that it has helped me develop my professional skills in the clinic. I am truly so grateful for this experience and hope to relay some things I’ve learned to you all.

I was partnered up with a nurse on the 5G unit, which often has a lot of patients with neurological injuries. The patients were often medically complex, requiring a variety of specialty team members such as neurosurgery, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and everything in between. We started off the day with introductions and learning about each other. We were around the same age – she was a younger nurse who had just started at Presby a few months prior and I was a second year DPT student who was just starting a clinical rotation at UPMC Mercy.

We chatted for a bit about her morning routines – checking in on the patients, giving out medications, talking to the physicians and giving updates on her patients. She gave me a quick run-down on what the drugs were as she administered them to patients and provided me her thought process for patient care every step along the way. I really appreciated how in-depth she explained everything to me. Not yet having pharmacology, I did not know a lot about medications. She was understanding of this and was excited to teach me. I was excited to teach her a little bit about physical therapy as well.

Throughout the day, we talked to occupational and physical therapists, speech therapists, neurosurgery physicians, medical students, medical residents, plastic surgeons, and so many others that I cannot even recall. Nurses are responsible for their patient’s entire plan of care and whoever may come along with that. I never realized how much of a nurse’s day is spent checking in with other professionals. I felt as though every few minutes she was answering her phone, whether it was patient call bells or physicians. Before I knew it, it was time for another round of medications. Even though we did not do physical work all day, we were constantly busy.

Something my nursing partner said to me that will always stick in my head is “I wish we could have done this when I was in school. I didn’t know half of the things you guys did in the hospital.” This is why interprofessional education while we are still in our schooling programs is so important. I was able to learn so much about what a nurse’s day looks like. I never even could have imagined half of it. Even though our day was pretty calm and uneventful (a good thing!), she was busy nonstop. I have come out of this experience with so much more admiration for our nursing coworkers.

Whenever I become a licensed therapist, I will now have a new perspective towards others in the inpatient environment. If I’m trying to clear the floor for PT and cannot get a hold of a nurse, I need to understand that they have so many other things on their plate and talking to me might be the last of their priorities at the current moment. Open communication and teamwork lead to better patient outcomes. We all want what is best for our patients, and together as a cohesive team, we can make that happen. I hope more people get the chance to have this opportunity, and if any of you reading this get the chance, please take it!

-Kara Kaniecki, SPT