May 27, 2015

Interprofessional Education teams Improve Patient and Family Care through Medical Error Simulation


Imagine a medical, pharmacy, health professions, nursing and public health student walking into an exam room together and communicating with a patient’s family member about a medical error that has just occurred.

On May 6, over 70 learners from UAMS’ six colleges (medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health, health professions and the graduate school) participated in the IPE pilot “Error Disclosure Simulation Event” which is a planned component of the IMMERSION phase for intermediate learners as part of the Interprofessional Education curriculum going into effect, at UAMS in the fall 2015.

In this event, interprofessional teams must disclose an error that has occurred. Teams work collaboratively and talk about their action plan, discuss their role and determine how they will tell the family member as a team about the error and how the patient was harmed. A standardized patient plays the role of a family member.

Each learner has a different approach and perspective to the case provided. Simulations help students understand how to work with other health providers in different fields and how to ask questions outside of their profession.

All teams returned to participate in a large group debriefing where two faculty facilitators led the learners and standardized patients through a structured discussion to highlight the importance of the interprofessional team as a model to conduct difficult conversations that are applicable to all professions.  Evaluations indicate that the learners enjoyed the event and recognize that this experience will positively affect their future practice.