For students in the physician assistant program at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine, interprofessional work is a concept students are aware of going in. The importance of collaboration is reinforced constantly in classes and clinical experiences.
"Our entire educational model is based on teamwork and trying to fill in the gaps in the most positive way for patients."
Team-based healthcare delivery is so crucial to the work at the CWRU Student Run Health Clinic, where Audrey is the physician assistant clinical coordinator, that student volunteers are sorted into teams that include one representative each from the medical, nursing, physician assistant and social work programs. If a team is missing a representative from one of the schools when a Saturday clinic shift begins, the team is considered incomplete and entire team is sent home.
This "all or none" approach is second nature to physician assistant students like Audrey.
"For PAs, the big thing is that we are mid-level professionals by definition. Our entire job is to function as part of a team in order to even be a job. We work with physicians, we work alongside them, with nurses, with nurse practitioners. There's nothing we do independently."