Nursing, Medical Students Partner on Interdisciplinary Care to Needy

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , August 24, 2010

For example, Pontious says medical students are trained to talk in bullets and concentrate on bottom line information. In contract, nurses describe everything about the patient, concentrating on bigger picture issues. The students are learning together that sometimes you need to talk in bullets, other times you need to bring in detail and consider such things as psycho-social issues. These methods will help you get to the care that will be most positive and most accepted by patients.

A final benefit of the program is that it will help students learn about and gain new understanding of patients' living conditions.

"All of these families they are visiting are form vulnerable populations," says Pontious, "who typically do not have access to healthcare, they don't have insurance. We expect these students to have a very deep personal conviction about how to work with people in their communities and from their cultural and life perspective."

Pontious believes they will be better healthcare providers for it. "Instead of just talking about interdisciplinary care, these students have experienced it," she says. "They will go into their future positions expecting to continue it."

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at
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