“Crossing Borders” between nursing, medicine, allied health sciences, dentistry and public health

It seems like the current buzz word in health care education is collaboration. We know that patients receive the best care when their providers work together, and this strategy is also true for educating our future health care providers.

The Interprofessional Education Collaborative, a group comprised of organizations for nurses, physicians, pharmacists, dentists and public health professionals, uses the World Health Organization’s definition of interprofessional education. This definition refers to interprofessional education in terms of “When students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”

East Carolina University’s Division of Health Sciences and the Office for Equity and Diversity pooled resources to host a first-of-its-kind event that united students on the health sciences campus to explore cultures, hidden misconceptions and their own beliefs.

On October 25, about 240 students and 50 faculty members in allied health sciences, dental medicine, medicine, nursing and Laupus Library watched the documentary “Crossing Borders,” which follows four Moroccan students and four American students studying abroad in Spain as they travel for a week through Morocco. The students, strangers before their trip, learned about themselves and each other through candid conversations on politics, religion, poverty, conflict and education.

After the movie, ECU students divided into 25 smaller groups, led by two faculty members from different colleges or schools, to discuss how the film’s themes related to their personal lives and their roles as health care providers.

Students and faculty who participated in the film viewing and pre- and post-film discussions reflected positively on the experience.

Jacquelin Riggins, a senior nursing student from Wingate, N.C., said the event was enlightening and inspiring. “This was the first time I had ever met and had a discussion with students from other health care professions,” Riggins said. “It was great being able to get a perspective from each profession, their view on patient care, and background in what they do.”

Students and faculty, alike, expressed an interest in future opportunities to work together. Ms. Riggins said, “Just the hour discussion that I had today with other students opened my eyes and really helped me to realize the total circle that is involved in patient care.”

The “Crossing Borders” movie has been seen by students worldwide. Director Arnd Wächter said the film is designed to empower youth by deepening intercultural empathy and initiating student dialogues. To learn more, visit http://crossingbordersfilm.org/

If you are interested in the model used for this collaborative project, you may contact Dr. Donna Lake (College of Nursing) at laked@ecu.edu.