Carol DelvilleSchool of Nursing
Carol Delville is transforming health professional education through the design and implementation of collaborative inter-professional opportunities. The project focuses on discovering the role(s) of other health professionals and learning how collaboration improves client care through shadowing experiences, inter-professional hospital simulations, and joint ethics presentations.
A primary goal for my PTF project was to help students deliberately learn and share clinical experiences with other health professional students and identify strategies to improve inter-professional communication, safety, and patient-centered care. To achieve this, I looked to where our students would be working after they graduated — the community. Graduate students from nursing, social work and pharmacy, and residents from the Dell Medical Graduate program are now working together on community-based quality improvement projects.
My community partners were used to having nurses come for clinical experiences, but they had never had multiple students from different disciplines working together on a single project. Not being one to start small, during our first year (two semesters) we tackled nine separate community sites, including nursing homes, hospitals, private practices, home-health care agencies, regional clinics for the underserved and community agencies. Each community partner self-identified a quality improvement project for which the student teams would do an agency assessment of the scope of the problem, review the literature and propose a solution which the agency implemented over three months. Teams collected outcome data and reported results in paper, presentation, and poster format.
The agency feedback from the first-year projects is inspiring. For example, the nursing home project focused on a revised pain assessment protocol and resident-screening instrument for staff use. At the end of the project, staff screening rates increased over 53 percent. The nursing director wrote, “There were not enough hours in the day to do the level of review we needed in order to do this right. The protocol and survey instrument the students created for us met our needs exactly! Will they be coming back next year? Please call, I have more ideas for projects.” The home-health agency team designed a teaching module and video to teach exercises that could improve balance and reduce falls in older adults. Not only did the pretest and post-test scores improve, staff now use the program as a part of orientation and annual competencies.
The student outcomes have been outstanding as well. At the midpoint they only saw the work before them and questioned if their projects would work. By the end, standing at the poster presentations, I witnessed their pride in and excitement about their accomplishments. More importantly, they could see and share in their success!
Having the PTF here to support me and encourage me to be daring, to think about teaching and about experiences beyond the classroom, has been a transformative experience for me. Having scholars who encourage and exchange creative ideas for the classroom has challenged me to be more creative. I have met collaborating faculty from across campus with whom I’ve discussed how we can integrate teaching, learning, and research into the classroom, and give back to the UT faculty and the student body. The PTF program has enriched my life here at UT. I have been provided opportunities to express ideas at large events, like the Campus Conversations Faculty Symposiums, and small, like the First Friday events. I learn something new every time we meet.
Dr. Delville is part of the Provost Teaching Fellows program. Find out more about this Faculty Initiative here.