A new course launched in the spring of 2019 has won a Healthy EQ Interprofessional Innovations Award. The course entitled Advanced Counseling at the End of Life, combined students from the Schools of Law and Social Work in a unique interprofessional classroom environment.
The course promotes interprofessional competencies through a model that enhances client centered care; creation of interprofessional teams; identifying the roles of each of the professions as it contributes increasing the communication between the professions. Social work and law students were paired in partnerships for the semester which provided the opportunity to build skills of engagement and collaboration while utilizing the information presented in class. Professor Spira from the School of Social Work and Professors Mitchell and Sawicki from the Law School presented on topics designed to inform and expose the students to the tools of the trade of each profession. Self-reflection journals were required several times in the semester to allow the students to integrate their experiences and share the benefits and barriers to interprofessional practice. Speakers from the medical and law fields were invited to present to the class to provide additional perspectives.
Simulated patients were an integral part of the class. They met with each law and social work team, enacting the role of a terminally ill patient or a caregiver acting as surrogate decision-maker for the client. During the last two weeks of class the students went to a senior center and met with clients to draft advance directives. In the future, we hope to teach the course again and extend it to students in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, forming broader interprofessional teams.