Interprofessional Simulation Gives MSW Students Hands-on, Team-Based Medical Social Work Experience

January 27, 2020

One of the advantages of studying at NYU Silver is the opportunity to participate in cross-university, interdisciplinary learning experiences. This past December, MSW students Daniela Adames, Deidre-Ann Gayle, Sara Grisales Jaramillo, Mara Johnson, Ian Koncagul, Christina Yan, and Eric White did just that through an interprofessional medical patient simulation at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing’s Clinical Simulation Learning Center (CSLC).

Each MSW student was teamed with two NYU Meyers nursing students and one Long Island University pharmacy student to collectively visit a Simulated Patient – that is, an actor trained to portray a patient with particular symptoms and circumstances – in one of the CSLC’s simulated hospital rooms. Instructors were able to view each team’s patient interaction through a one-way mirror.

NYU Silver Clinical Assistant Professors Nicholas Lanzieri and Anne Dempsey assisted NYU Meyers faculty in developing a patient scenario that involved not only medical symptoms but also issues related to trauma, immigration, medical coverage and finances, social environmental factors, and familial circumstances for the social work students to assess.

Dr. Lanzieri explained, “Medical social workers in large, urban hospitals are responsible for offering support and resources to patients in order to assist in their recovery from medical illness or injury. Working collaboratively with health care professionals from other disciplines, they assess each patient’s needs based on their medical and personal situations, taking into account any resulting emotional and psychological concerns. They work with the patient and their support systems to coordinate an individualized in-hospital treatment plan and post-hospitalization discharge plan, which might include coordinating efforts with other health providers, reviewing housing situations, in-home medical equipment, meal plans, legal and psychological counseling, and follow-up treatments.”

During the simulations, Professors Lanzieri and Dempsey were joined by Clinical Associate Professor Dina Rosenfeld and Adjunct Lecturer Meredith O'Boyle in observing the teams, rating the MSW students' performance, and providing feedback individually. Students were also given feedback in a group format, with nursing and pharmacy students and faculty present. This helped to enrich the evaluative experience, while also providing each student a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each profession.

Students said the experience was informative, instructive, and beneficial to their professional skill development. They learned not only about applying social work skills in a hospital setting but also about collaborating with colleagues from other disciplines. Additional simulation experiences are planned for the Spring semester and professors Lanzieri and Dempsey hope to apply for an interprofessional grant with NYU Meyers colleagues so that they can expand their collaboration.  

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