The Interprofessional Education (IPE) Project at Carondelet Village
As printed in the Winter 2015 Social Work Perspectives newsletter
Every week the students paid a visit. They got the residents involved in programs, brought in outside resources and sometimes just listened.
The School of Social Work has a partnership with St. Catherine University’s Henrietta Schmoll School of Health and Carondelet Village, an older adult living facility, to match teams of students with residents to optimize health and well-being. Shelly Rottenberg, social work instructor, said the partnership gives students an opportunity to work with older adults in a positive way that also recognizes what residents can teach the students.
The partnership is part of the Interprofessional Education (IPE) project that began in January 2013. Each spring undergraduate and graduate students from six disciplines work together to enhance the lives of Carondelet’s residents. Disciplines include social work, physical therapy, occupation therapy, baccalaureate nursing, physician assistant and nurse practitioner. Rottenberg said the interprofessional program is a cutting-edge approach, and extremely helpful when working with older adults.
“We all know a certain amount of information, we all are trained in a certain approach. If you get a variety of disciplines together, you’re getting a much fuller picture of the person,” she said. “It fosters a lot of creative ways of approaching people.”
The IPE program allows students from many health professions to learn from one another and work together. “All together we’re smarter than one of us alone,” Rottenberg explained. “The students gained a better understanding about what each profession did and how they worked, an opportunity many students do not get.”
The social work students also had the opportunity to showcase their own disciplines.
“Social workers bring what we call the strengths perspective. Not what’s wrong with this person, but what’s right? What are their strengths, what do they have going for them?” Rottenberg explained. “Students gained an appreciation for what they brought to the collaboration, which led to more self-respect as well as respect for others.”
The interprofessional skills that social work students learn while working at Carondelet will prepare them for their future professions in the health sector. “The direction of medical care is more collaborative and this partnership provides valuable experience that they can apply in the real world,” Rottenberg said.