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Getting involved in interprofessional education

Vivien Yu
Pharmacy student Vivien Yu is co-president of RGU’s Pharmacy Society and RGU president of Aberdeen’s IPE society. Read her thoughts on the importance of Interprofessional education and a new inter-university IPE campaign coming in September.

Throughout my studies I often found it frustrating the lack of awareness and knowledge that surrounds the role of a pharmacist. I’m passionate in not only educating other professions on the role, but also learning about the roles and assets of other professions.  

I believe that interprofessional education (IPE) is one of the biggest healthcare interventions in the world. Good multidisciplinary teams allow for trust, communication and develops both personal and professional relationships. 

An integrated system of IPE encourages excellence in patient-centred care and increases overall patient satisfaction. We can help to develop relations across health care sectors as we progress into the future. With so many different disciplines and courses, we sometimes fail to see the vast amount of talent and skills each person can bring to the patient’s bedside and beyond. We can change that. 

Aberdeen’s IPE society facilitates both student learning and teaching and brings together students from across Aberdeen, enabling early exposure to other professions. I first got involved with the IPE society in my first year of university at RGU. Being completely new to the city and university I jumped at a chance to meet new people. 

Never could I have imagined, in my first year, the opportunities and rewards I will have gained through my work with this society. I could teach at events, get involved with society work and network with both students and professionals. I have helped advise in setting up student IPE societies across the country: in the University of East Anglia (UEA), Birmingham, Cardiff and hopefully more in the future. I’ve been shortlisted for Scottish pharmacy student leadership awards in 2019, awarded university accolades, worked with organisations like CAIPE UK, invited on to the IPL Associates Group and met friends both in my profession and outwith. 

Aberdeen’s IPE society typically organises around 4 academic events and 2 social events each year. Just some of events that we have organised the past two years are... 

  • Journey of a Stroke Patient,  
  • Management of COPD,  
  • Could it be Sepsis  
  • And, Journey of a Surgical Patient.  

Our events are led by students from different disciplines across RGU and Aberdeen University. It’s attended by 100 - 150 students. 

More recently, Aberdeen IPE society has joined up with UEA’s IPE society to create the first-ever inter-university IPE online campaign #IPEconnect2020. In collaboration with The Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE UK), this campaign will focus on the theme of communication and run across September. 

  • Week one will focus on introductions: the importance of introducing yourself to other professions, to patients, introductions in different languages.  
  • Week two will focus on jargon within your professions and the importance of a good handover.  
  • Week three will focus on alternative communication such as British Sign Language, Brailie, emotional intelligence and importantly lip reading (especially with masks and PPE having to be worn during the current climate).  
  • Week four will be a summary week and CAIPE student quiz night.  

Throughout the campaign there will be chances to win prizes by taking part in challenges and getting involved. There’s also a charity raffle with the proceeds being split over a local Aberdeen and Norwich charity. 

So what are you waiting for? You can get involved whether you’re a biomedical, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, occupational therapy, social work or any other healthcare/science student. There’s something for everyone. Even if you are just interested in interprofessional working, multidisciplinary teams or, like my first year, self - joining a new society.  

Check out our social media pages to keep up with the campaign, future events and opportunities. Give us an email or a message on our pages if you would like to get involved this year. 

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