By Wendy Sarubbi | October 19, 2015 1:14 pm

A patient with a sexually transmitted disease, an overbearing parent, insensitive healthcare providers and a pharmacist who divulges personal medical information– it’s a prescription for a disastrous doctor’s visit. That was the scenario played out at an interprofessional education workshop October 13, involving students and faculty from medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work

Over-the-top characters and humor were used to illustrate the disconnects in communications that students must understand to better communicate with their patients and fellow healthcare providers in the real world. The goal of the College of Medicine’s interprofessional training is to give UCF medical, social work and nursing students and University of Florida pharmacy students teamwork “muscle memory” so they will work together better in the real world.

“The goal is to see people behaving badly to give students fodder for thought,” said Dr. Judy Simms-Cendan, the medical school associate professor who leads the Central Florida Interprofessional Education working group. During the skit, Dr. Simms-Cendan played an impatient physician who showed little interest in her patient and much disdain for her colleagues. Her nursing colleague, played by Dr. Laura Gonzalez, couldn’t get the answers she needed from the doctor, which impacted her interaction with the patient.

Dr. Tracy Wharton, assistant professor of social work, played the role of an uncaring social worker who showed little empathy for a young female patient, instead lecturing her about her sexual partner.

She said that her students need opportunities to interact with other medical professionals during their training so they can be more effective in hospital and clinical settings.

”Often teams work together but words mean different things to different disciplines and we fail at communicating as medicine, pharmacy and nursing view the patient from different angles,” she said.

That sentiment was echoed by UCF nursing student Chelsea Hughes, who noted how the patient would have had a better experience and outcome if the healthcare professionals talked to each other rather than at each other.

While the students chuckled at the unlikeable characters and uncomfortable situations, the skit’s message on the impact of poor communication was not lost on them. Second-year medical student Brett Murray said he sees the benefits of working as a real team. ”Bringing together so many disciplines allowed us to collaborate and help each other understand different concepts,” he said. “It will help us in our future careers to better assist our patients.”


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