I’m glad to introduce, Ralph Yeung, an MSc candidate in Neuroscience who has been active with the Queen’s Health Care Team Challenge (HCTC™). The 4th annual HCTC™, hosted by the Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice (OIPEP), is on Saturday, November 24th.
As students in health care professions, it’s easy to lose ourselves in the myriad of competencies we are expected to master during our education. Intensive training and professional specialization is vital, but it can segregate professions and keep us from looking at the bigger picture of how we fit together in the health care system.
Let’s say that, as an x-ray technologist, I perform an examination for an outpatient who has the smell of alcohol on his breath. He tells me, while we’re alone in the x-ray room that his life is “spiralling out of control” and he feels unable to cope with his deteriorating health. We establish positive rapport and I complete the examination according to my scope of practice. He then moves on through the system and might never see me again. Could we have made this situation better for our patient if all our health care professions worked as a team, instead of being separate entities in a system?
This was similar to the virtual case scenario that my team, comprised of six different professions (nursing, medicine, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, clinical psychology and x-ray technology) collaborated on for the inaugural Queen’s Health Care Team Challenge (HCTC™) in 2009.
It was here that I first understood the importance of including the patient as a prominent team member, a key to patient-centred care that is at the very core of interprofessional practice. We incorporated our patient in the decision-making process, which helped us to determine treatment priorities and develop a smooth transition in patient-centred clinical care between professions.
Having won the Queen’s HCTC, we represented Queen’s and won the first Ontario HCTC in 2010. During that competition, we were faced with a new case that challenged our teamwork and ability to integrate our diverse array of skills and creativity in providing the best patient care for a homeless teenager. From this case, we learned of resources such as mobile nursing clinic programs, which encompass the concept of patient-centered care: bringing care to someone who finds follow-up difficult. We also learned about the importance of collaboration between professions to ensure seamless transitions and a continuous spectrum of care for the patient.
The Health Care Team Challenge is a worthwhile learning opportunity for all students of health care. As a team member or even as an audience member, you gain insight into the benefits and challenges of teamwork in a health care setting. More specifically, you will witness how professionals with sometimes conflicting ideas and priorities can use these different perspectives to collaborate and keep the patients’ needs and wants at the forefront. HCTC has lessons for more than just healthcare students. Audience members get a first hand look at the role of the patient regarding decisions about their care. Moreover, by asking questions and raising concerns you can participate in the training of future health care professionals.
The Health Care Team Challenge is a fun and collegial competition that takes us outside of the theoretical and practice aspects of our particular field of study; to work with and learn from our peers in other professions with one ultimate objective: the best possible care for our patients.
If you are a student in medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, clinical psychology or x-ray technology, we’re currently recruiting for the upcoming Queen’s HCTC! You can find out more about the friendly competition on the OIPEP website below.
Come to Queen’s 4th Annual HCTC and learn with us on November 24th!
For more information:
Visit the Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice (OIPEP) website:
View my team’s HCTC video: http://healthsci.queensu.ca/education/oipep/oipep_resources/hctc_video
Read an article from last year’s winning team on page 2 of the OIPEP June Quarterly Report: