The Association of American Medical Colleges expects the nation to need as many as 90,000 more physicians than will be practicing by 2025.
The approach to teaching future Aggie doctors at Texas A&M’s College of Medicine not only helps address this looming national crisis, but also improves care for individual patients.
Through the college’s interprofessional education training, medical students work with professionals in all relevant disciplines—medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health, and others—to learn with, from, and about each other during their training so they won’t have to learn this team work “on the fly” after they graduate.
It’s more than just putting students from different professions together; it’s a comprehensive approach to medical education. Students in a variety of health-related disciplines work together in the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s 27,000-square-foot, realistic hospital setting, which offers the latest tools and technology, including simulated patients and mannequins.
Exercises range from large-scale, simulated disasters to scenarios with just one or two patients, such as a recent simulated scenario when medical and nursing students practiced delivering a healthy baby boy and reacting to the mother’s uterine hemorrhage, which required an emergency hysterectomy.
“The number one cause of patient death or serious injury not related to the natural course of illness is a lack of communication and leadership,” says Shelley White-Corey, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing. “Study after study supports the conclusion that practicing as a team results in better communication, and we’re doing everything we can to save lives.”