Alberta postsecondary health education partnership leads to international award

The Interdisciplinary Health Education Partnership (IHEP) has been awarded the 2015 Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Practice/Academe Innovation Collaboration Award.

Anne Pratt - 02 November 2015

EDMONTON - The Interdisciplinary Health Education Partnership (IHEP) has been awarded the 2015 Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Practice/Academe Innovation Collaboration Award, given annually to an institution or group of institutions that exhibits excellence in innovative practice and academic collaboration.

The IHEP is an inter-institutional, interprofessional team comprised of healthcare simulation specialists and interprofessional education experts from both clinical practice and academic. The award recognizes IHEP's ongoing work with specific reference to Save Stan Saturday, a simulation event open to students from four IHEP partners: MacEwan University, NAIT, NorQuest College and the University of Alberta. Save Stan, which celebrated its fifth year in 2015 offers learners a full day of interprofessional team based scenarios focused on increasing interprofessional competence. Since its inception, more than 800 students have taken part in the event. Alberta Health Services (AHS) is also a member of the IHEP partnership and provides simulation expertise for the full day event.

Save Stan is held alternately at the simulation facilities in the Robbins Health Learning Centre at MacEwan University, and in the Health Sciences Education and Research Commons (HSERC) simulation space, the Faculty of Nursing SIM lab and other spaces in the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy at the University of Alberta. Sharla King is the Executive Director of the HSERC at the University of Alberta; "IHEP is an essential post secondary partnership," she says. "We need our health care professionals to learn to work together early in their training. Save Stan offers students from programs at each of these schools a unique opportunity to experience the importance of teamwork at all levels of practice. The scenarios are simulated, but the experience and the learning are very real."

"It is particularly fitting that this announcement comes during Canadian Patient Safety Week," says, Chris Power, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. "Health team education focuses on communication, collaboration, role clarification and reflection - all essential to improving patient safety. When our health professionals are comfortable working together, patients benefit."

IHEP has also created professional development opportunities for faculty who want training in designing and debriefing health team simulations. In submitting the team for the award, Colette Foisy-Doll of the Faculty of Nursing at MacEwan University, and Dr. Sharla King wrote, "Together the team has developed, implemented and evaluated programs for faculty and students, and facilitated knowledge translation in the field of simulation-based learning for interprofessional education (IPE) at local, national and international levels."

Simulation-based learning uses sophisticated mannequins, standardized patients and the same equipment found in hospitals.

These scenarios are to health students, what flight simulators are to flight students. "We use the latest technology and time-proven theatrical techniques to help our students learn to manage everything from neo-natal emergencies, to ER rooms and palliative care," says Dawn Ansell, Coordinator of NorQuest College's Interdisciplinary Simulation Centre. "It's as close as we can get them to real life experience before they enter the clinical environment."

Sam Magus is a Respiratory Therapy, Clinical Instructor at NAIT and has worked with IHEP since its inception in 2009. "This partnership is so important to our students and I don't hesitate to say that there is nothing like this anywhere else in Canada. We're proud to offer them this very significant advantage right here in Alberta."

With over 135,000 members globally, the STTI is the second largest nursing organization in the world. The Practice/Academe Innovation Collaboration Award will be presented to IHEP at the annual STTI convention on November 7, 2015.

For more information:

Anne Pratt
Communications Manager
Health Sciences Council
University of Alberta