Interdisciplinary Training for Medical and Nursing Students: Learning to Collaborate in the Care of Geriatric Patients


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A medicine clerkship for students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine provided the setting for a pilot program in interdisciplinary geriatric training with nursing students from the College of Mount Saint Vincent. The program's objectives were to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and to increase appreciation for the role of each discipline in caring for the aged. Additionally, it sought to foster a holistic approach to the aging and a recognition of the psychosocial influences on their lives. Teams of one medical and two nursing students conducted patient work‐ups and presented cases to an interdisciplinary group of health care professionals. Analysis of pretest–posttest responses of ten medical and ten nursing students to a Role Assessment Questionnaire (RAQ) found that the program significantly increased medical students' perceptions of the nurse's role in caring for hospitalized elderly patients (P < 0.05). Despite this gain, however, there continued to be substantial discrepancies between medical and nursing students' perceptions of the extent to which nurses are “essential” in caring for the elderly. In evaluating the program, all participants concurred that working with students in another health profession was a valuable learning experience. While nursing students felt that the program achieved all its goals, responses of medical students were more variable, with volunteers having more positive perceptions of program impact than those who were assigned. The program demonstrated both the need for and the effect of interdisciplinary training, and that teaching and clinical experiences centering around the hospitalized older person can provide a natural setting for such training. 1984 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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