Development and delivery of an Interprofessional Education Conference for medicine students from Newcastle University and pharmacy students from the University of Sunderland

Dr Clare Guilding, Dean of Academic Affairs (Medicine)

Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia  (Case Study from the School of Medical Education, Newcastle Campus)

Medical Sciences

What did you do?

Developed and delivered an Interprofessional Education Conference for medicine students from Newcastle University and pharmacy students from the University of Sunderland.

Who is involved?

The conference was designed collaboratively with staff from Newcastle University (key Newcastle staff members being Clare Guilding, Joanna Matthan and Elsa Randles) and staff from Pharmacy at the University of Sunderland. On the day of the conference we had ~ 400 Stage 2 students (approximately half and half from Newcastle and Sunderland) rotating round a variety of inter-professional tasks.

The sessions were facilitated by 50 academic staff members from medicine, pharmacy and nursing backgrounds from across the North East. There were two keynote speeches given by senior NHS speakers, Chris Tiplady, Regional Advisor for Education in HEE North and Neil Gammack, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust Chief Pharmacist.

How do you do it?

The conference took over a year to develop. I initially set up an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Conference steering group that met regularly. The steering group consisted of key Newcastle and Sunderland staff involved in organising the conference. We identified a number of streams of work, and sub-groups met outside of the main meetings to further these streams.

Interprofessional learning materials were developed to address learning objectives from both degree programmes around the broad skills of choosing the correct class, dose, duration and route of administration of antibiotics and the management of meningitis, urinary tract infections and sepsis specifically. The day was also designed to address more overarching learning outcomes from each programme, around the development of a professional identity and understanding the importance of interprofessional teams working in ensuing patient safety.

The method of delivery was a full-day conference which included lectures from keynote speakers, interprofessional workshops and simulation sessions. The conference ran with Twitter hashtag #IPEConference2016 where images from the day can be seen.

Students started and ended the conference together in lecture theatre based sessions and in-between rotated around three interprofessional workshops. Numbers were balanced in each workshop to ensure an equal mix of medicine and pharmacy students; the different student groups were identifiable by different coloured lanyards. We started the conference itself with short keynote presentations from senior NHS staff highlighting the importance of effective interprofessional working for the management of infection and patient safety. Students then rotated around three interprofessional workshops: The ‘Choosing the Right Antibiotic’ session was 2 hours long and ran in 12 rooms simultaneously; the ‘Significant Event Audit’ was a one hour session run in 5 rooms simultaneously and the ‘SimMan Sepsis session’ was a one hour session run concurrently in the Clinical Skills laboratory and the Dissecting Room.

An example student timetable is shown.

8:00-9:00       Registration and society stalls

9:00-10:00     Introduction and keynote speakers

10:00-12:00   Inter-professional workshop: Choosing the Right Antibiotic

12:00-13:30    Lunch and society stalls

13:30-14:30    Inter-professional workshop: Significant Event Audit

14:30-15:30    Inter-professional workshop: SimMan Sepsis

15:30-16:15     Round up quiz and evaluation

The Choosing the Right Antibiotic session was our flagship IPE seminar developed for Stage 2 students and piloted and evaluated successfully in 2014. Students worked in interdisciplinary teams to solve clinical problems around the selection and administration of antibiotics for meningitis and urinary tract infections. The SimMan Sepsis session was a Team Based Learning (TBL) exercise using SimMan (a high-fidelity virtual patient simulator), exploring the management of acute sepsis. The use of this virtual patient allowed the students to apply their shared knowledge to a simulated real-life emergency scenario and see the effects their treatment had on the patient in real time. Significant Event Audit is regularly used in primary care multidisciplinary teams, usually in the form of a monthly meeting to discuss ‘significant events’. In this session students worked together to consider clinical complications leading to the development of acute sepsis in their patient. They identified positive and negative aspects of care and appropriate changes in practice in response to the event.

The conference format was realised through the production of conference packs, stands from affiliated organisations and charities, lanyards, pre-reading material, an art exhibition produced on the conference theme by the students, lunch and refreshments. Stalls were run by the British Pharmacological Society, National Pharmacy Association, Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education, Pharmacists Defence Association and the UK Clinical Pharmacy Association.

Why do you do it?

The General Medical Council clearly states that “Medical schools must ensure that students work with and learn from other health and social care professionals and students” (TD09). Interprofessional working is a key component of healthcare professionals’ daily work, and the skills for this should be developed from as early as possible. However our MBBS programme ran limited IPE events, solely in the clinical years. To strengthen our IPE and pharmacology curriculum we introduced IPE sessions into the Stage 2 pre-clinical pharmacology module, which ran jointly with Stage 2 pharmacy students from the University of Sunderland.

In 2014 and 2015 we introduced the 2h ‘Choosing the Right Antibiotic’ session. In 2016 we expanded it into the daylong ‘Interprofessional Education Conference’. We chose the focus of the conference to be some of the current key NHS priorities: antibiotic stewardship and patient safety.

Does it work?

Feedback from students who attended the conference, the staff who ran it and the visiting charities and keynote speakers was overwhelmingly positive. We have completed a full evaluation which will be published in due course. The event has just undergone it’s second iteration with the additional contribution of a stand from the General Medical Council. The conference has been noted positively in the School of Medical Education’s Annual Monitoring Review.

Contact Details

Dr Clare Guilding, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs


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