Inspiring Student Leadership through Interprofessional Community Service
Purpose: 54.17% of healthcare professionals report daily interprofessional practice when providing patient care1. Shenandoah University (SU) currently offers 12 graduate health professions (HP) programs and 25 health care programs total. At the graduate level, 30.53% (n=1093) of the student body is enrolled in HP programs. These large numbers create the need to develop innovative learning experiences to enhance interprofessional collaboration. Annually, SU encourages the university community to participate in service activities on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In past years, students expressed a desire to participate in healthcare based activities on this day. Student leadership responded with the formation of a student-led committee to organize events within the scope of health and wellness. The goals of this project were to 1-serve the local community, 2-create an opportunity for interprofessional collaboration and communication, 3-encourage student networking within the local community and 4-engage and inspire future healthcare leaders.Methods/Description: The 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment2 was used to identify organizations that could be best served by HP students. 44 organizations in the local area were contacted detailing student interest in volunteering. Deans/program directors of 8 graduate HP programs were asked to disseminate event information to faculty, staff and students in their schools/programs. A sign-up sheet was sent via email to all HP students one week before the event. Student leaders from each program were asked to help encourage peer participation.Results/Outcomes: 16/44 organizations welcomed volunteers. 147 students, 5 faculty and 3 family members from 6 professions participated across two campuses. Volunteers worked in interdisciplinary teams to provide a total of 5008.5 hours of work with an estimated community savings of $120,905.19.3 Following the completion of this event, student leaders from 4 out of 6 participating professions contacted the student organizers to develop future service events or for interprofessional collaboration. Predominant themes within student feedback were increased interest to participate in future service projects and enjoyment from partaking in collegial interactions with other HP students. Reflection by student leaders identified increased awareness of local needs and overall feelings of empowerment to make meaningful change.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: Interprofessional activities may not need to be limited to a classroom setting to improve student collaboration and communication skills. Service activities may be a way to provide additional interprofessional opportunities for communication/collaboration while minimizing the logistical issues such as scheduling conflicts or limited space. Student led projects may provide increased opportunities for aspiring healthcare leaders to develop leadership skills. Future projects of this nature may benefit from the creation of an interdisciplinary leadership team.References: 1. Bright B, Austin B, Garn C, Glass J, Sample S. Identification of interprofessional practice and application to achieve patient outcomes of health care providers in the acute care setting. J Interprofessional Educ Pract. 2017;9:108-114. 2. Philips III, Grady W. 2017 – 2019 Implementation Strategy for the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment Serving Our Community by Improving Health. November 2017. 3. Independent Sector. Independent Sector Releases New Value of Volunteer Time of $24.14 Per Hour. April 2017.