By migramirez - September 28, 2013

By Elisa Brown - In our workplaces today, it is often the case that buzz words like “teamwork” and “collaboration” are everywhere. This could mean within a workgroup, department, floor, or entire company. In health care the emphasis is often on clinical teams and there has been a trend recently towards more collaboration across the clinical disciplines especially in providing patient care. Everyone is trying to get out of their “silo” of traditional roles to understand what each other does. This builds respect and understanding across disciplines and can strengthen the care that is delivered to the patients. Someone might wonder at times though, where does administration fit in? What role does the CEO of a hospital have when it comes to inter-professional dialogue and teamwork? I found an article the other day about inter-professional care teams; the point is made that “healthcare administrators often are perceived as irrelevant at best, a hindrance at worst.”

The authors go on to point out that there is a wide opportunity available for administrators to contribute to the inter-professional care movement and can add valuable competencies to the process. Since fall 2012, the MBA students here at Loma Linda University have been participating in the Inter-professional Education lab (IPE). During the four hour lab, MBA students join students from nursing, medicine, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, and physician assistants to learn together. The large group is split into multi-disiplinary teams who rotate through three stations. The lab includes learning important verbiage to communicate concerns (“CUS” words, SBAR, and TEAMsteps), short scenarios and case studies, as well as immersive scenarios that include a patient that crashes and needs life support. The lab takes place in the Simulation Lab located in the Centennial Complex where there are rooms set up with video review, central controls, and high tech mannequins with all of the necessary equipment available as well. The student group waits in a separate room watching the scenario on a screen and those who are in the room are expected to respond, communicate, or ask for help of other student professionals as needed. At first glance you see how various professions would learn in this environment.

The challenge comes when we add MBA students to the mix. When I think of when and why an administrator would be called to the room, I don’t see of many scenarios that both include a patient crashing as well as an administrator. We have come up with a few though and they are helping to expose students to how the professions work together. The MBA students are able to be involved if needed but also to observe the kinds of scenarios that clinical professions experience and how they communicate. I have only started doing research to see whether this is being done in other universities — but on first glance, it seems that Loma Linda University is unique with these opportunities. Not only are we the only ones with an MBA program in a School of Public Health, but we are also one of the only health science universities with all of the disciplines on campus with a state of the art simulation center to facilitate this kind of learning. I am excited about this school year and the experiences waiting for our students as they learn across professions and as we continue to develop this unique opportunity.