Posted on December 27, 2017

The colleges of Pharmacy (CPH) and Health Sciences at Qatar University (QU) in collaboration with the University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) recently held an interprofessional education activity on diabetes for healthcare students.

Hosted in UCQ, the event engaged over 100 students and around 20 healthcare faculty. It aimed to provide care for a patient with diabetic ketoacidosis in a collaborative and integrative manner. IPE activities are interprofessional developed by healthcare faculty from the different healthcare schools and coordinated by QU health Interprofessional Education Committee (IPEC), which convenes at Qatar University and includes representatives from all the healthcare colleges in Qatar including Qatar University, University of Calgary Qatar, Weill Cornell Medicine- Qatar and the College of North Atlantic. This particular activity was initiated in 2013 by faculty at UCQ and by the College of Pharmacy at QU and has been sustained since then with the inclusion of a third profession ‘biomedical science’ this year.

The event’s program included an icebreaking game where students in their interprofessional groups were asked to come up with a group name, which is reflective of everyone in their group, and case study discussions regarding a 36-year-old man was admitted to the Emergency Department after his wife found him confused and agitated in their apartment. The patient had Type 1 diabetes and is on insulin for the past year. Four days ago, he has been feeling unwell and stopped taking, as he was unable to eat. Students, in their interprofessional group were asked to assess the patient and recommend a team of 72 nursing and pharmacy students go to work on assessing him and provide management plan through different stages starting from his admission to the emergency department, then to transferring him to the medical unit and finally preparing him for discharge.

UCQ instructor Zohra Hasnani-Samnani said: “Incorporating Interprofessional education activities in our courses is a great way to introduce other professionals to our students. Often times, students do not know about the roles and responsibilities of other professional until they start practicing in actual clinical settings. In addition, many students do not get an opportunity to participate in interprofessional activities that are organized outside of the class time due to various reasons. We believe that by having such activities as part of our course ensures that everyone participates. This way, we can not only teach our content better, but also introduce our students to other professionals, early in their careers. With regard to the case on diabetic ketoacidosis IPE activity this year, we had for the first time three professionals involved and it was a huge success in terms of bringing everyone together to work on a case study. Nursing, pharmacy and biomedical students had a great time learning about diabetes ketoacidosis as well about each other’s roles and expertise.”

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CPH Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy Dr Hazem Elewa said: “Diabetes mellitus is a one of the most prevalent disease worldwide. In Qatar and the gulf region, this prevalence is almost double (17-20%) which means that one every five subjects is diabetic. To control this situation, we have to focus on reducing the incidence of the disease as well as reducing its complications. Diabetic ketoacidosis is an emergent condition that occurs in patients with uncontrolled hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar level) and that can even lead to death. It was very important to see how students from nursing, pharmacy, and biomedical science can come and learn how to work together to treat such condition together. We believe that such interprofessional education activities will train health care providers how to collaborate to provide patients with the ultimate care.”

CHS Biomedical Department Assistant professor Dr Mashael AL Shafai said: “The IPE activity provided ideal opportunity for students from the biomedical sciences, pharmacy and nursing to learn from each other and about their different professions. The students had to analyze together a case with diabetes ketoacidosis and they had very active and productive discussions.” CPH Pharmacy student Radoa Abdulla Al-Ansari said: “IPE is a great opportunity to learn about teamwork and how health care providers are supposed to collaborate with each other in real life scenario, and it also gives us an idea on how the procedure is done to ensure patient safety from different health care provider’s view.”

CHS biomedical student Raghad Khaled Al-Ishaq said: “We learned how the combined efforts from different disciplines including pharmacy, nursing, and biomedical analysis could be very effective for treatment of patient’s complications. Participating in such activities not only advances my academic knowledge, but also enhances my communication skills and give me a great opportunity to know and introduce myself to other professions.” UCQ nursing student Esther Andrews said: “This is my third experience in IPE. Personally, I would say that it is one of the greatest opportunity to study and learn new aspects and different health conditions like diabetes. The best part is not just learning diseases or health conditions, but I was also able to understand the different roles of health care professionals in contributing to the patient's health problem. This involved physicians, nurses, biologists, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and many more.”

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