New Grant to Promote Teamwork Between Docs, Nurses in Treating Complex Patients

A team of University of Virginia nursing and medical professors and clinicians has received a $1.08 million federal grant to expand the reach and practice of interprofessional education at U.Va. and beyond.

The grant, from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, aims to boost the practical collaborative skills of advanced-practice nurses and medical residents to provide safe, high-quality, team-based care for individuals with multiple chronic conditions.

Current health care delivery models often fail to adequately address the needs of individuals with multiple chronic conditions, and these complex patients are at greater risk for experiencing adverse events. With the National Institute of Medicine’s directive to boost the communication and teamwork skills of the nation’s clinicians – a practice shown to directly impact the quality and safety of care and the resilience of caregivers – the U.Va. team believes their work will enable interprofessional education’s continued forward momentum around the country and across the globe.

The grant is the latest venture in a decade-long focus on interprofessional education at U.Va.’s schools of Nursing and Medicine. Led by Dr. Valentina Brashers, founder and director of U.Va.’s Center for ASPIRE (Academic Strategic Partnerships for Interprofessional Research and Education), the group will use the money to develop a new interprofessional curriculum centered on team-based safety and quality improvement for patients with multiple chronic conditions.

The curriculum will bring together U.Va. advanced-practice nursing students and medical residents, who will learn side-by-side in workshops and simulations and then work together to apply their knowledge in the clinical setting.

In its latter phases, the ASPIRE team will measure the curriculum’s impact on the learners’ ability to work as members of a team in providing safe, high-quality care, before sharing their novel curricular content with other nursing and medical faculty around the U.S. interested in incorporating the practices at their facilities.  

As a nation, 75 percent of our health care dollars are spent on treating chronic diseases from heart disease to diabetes. These persistent conditions – the nation’s leading causes of death and disability – cause preventable deaths, lifelong disability, compromised quality of life and burgeoning health care costs. Interprofessional teams that have this level of practice and education offer more seamless, coordinated, safe care are uniquely poised to deal with chronic disease, said Brashers, a professor of both nursing and medicine.

Along with Brashers, the U.Va. team comprises administrators and faculty, including project director Christine Kennedy; interprofessional education experts Julie Haizlip and John Owen; Peggy Plews-Ogan, John Voss and Marianne Baernholdt, experts in safety and quality assessment; Wendy Novicoff, project evaluator; nursing professors Beth Quatrara and Barbara Maling; Stephanie Mallow-Corbett, pharmacy coordinator; clinical supervisors and simulation experts Dorothy Tullmann and Keith Littlewood; and standardized patient coordinator Anne Chapin.

Media Contact

Christine Phelan Kueter

School of Nursing