Communication Disorders department partners with College of Nursing on first UMass Amherst Interprofessional Team Training Day

Lisa Sommers (at left) and Maeve Howett

December 7, 2017

The Department of Communication Disorders partnered with the College of Nursing for an interprofessional education (IPE) event held on Friday, December 1st, in the nursing simulation lab in Springfield Center. Third-year students in the department’s doctor of audiology (AuD) program, along with second-year students in the speech-language pathology (SLP) master’s degree program, joined post-baccalaureate nursing students for a half-day event focusing on interprofessional communication, leadership, situation monitoring, and mutual support. Training in interprofessional teams has been demonstrated to improve patient health outcomes. The clinical focus for the day was on Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

Jane Sackett, Karen Guilmette, and Tomma Henckel, who serve as clinical instructors in the department’s Center for Language, Speech, and Hearing, lectured on a variety of topics, including dysphagia and communication difficulties such as speech, voice, cognition, and hearing. College of Nursing faculty members Maeve Howett and Cynthia Gaudet taught communication for teams, patient safety, and medication management for patients with PD. The IPE training program simulated PD patients and featured lots of hands-on group activities and opportunities for the students to observe, discuss, collaborate, and educate others.

“This has been a huge expenditure of time, organization, and just plain hard work to bring this to fruition,” states Lisa Sommers, Clinical Assistant Professor and the Center for Language, Speech, and Hearing’s Clinical Director. “It has truly been an interdisciplinary effort from beginning to end and features some of the best of what UMass has to offer students.”

“Over 100 students participated in the busy morning with excellent results according to the post- experience analysis of learning. I really enjoyed partnering with our colleagues in Speech Pathology and Audiology,” reported Maeve Howett, Clinical Professor and Assistant Dean in the College of Nursing.

Sommers and Howett expect to conduct another collaboration in the spring with a different clinical population, and provide regular training seminars in future academic years. “IPE is a great learning tool for our students and showcases the great clinical staff in both Communication Disorders and Nursing.”