Nursing school launches interprofessional resource website

Justin Atkinson

Students pursuing health professions will now be able to more easily access UT-related events, lectureships and opportunities related to health care professions because of a website developed by several professors.

A task force of professors from five colleges at UT — nursing, social work, pharmacy, medicine and natural sciences — launched the website last month, after working on it for two years.

Nursing professor Gayle Timmerman, a member of the development team, said the website’s purpose is to create an easy and central resource for students and educators to be aware of educational opportunities at the University.

“The hope is to have a convenient way to connect different health professions’ students and faculty to a variety of interprofessional opportunities,” Timmerman said. “The ultimate goal is improving interprofessional collaborative practice, which is the future of health care.”

Timmerman said the University has faced issues in coordinating opportunities for students in the past.

“One of the main barriers to [interprofessional] education we’ve noticed is the difficulty in coordinating activities and ways to gain experience across campus,” Timmerman said. 

In a 2013 report, the Institute of Medicine described the health professions landscape as moving toward more demographic diversity and technological advancements. The report recommends that health care educators create new models of teaching that encompass related fields.

Another team member, social work associate professor Barbara Jones, said the University has been working in recent years to increase interpersonal education initiatives to prepare students for their future careers.

“The future of health care depends upon strong interprofessional teams that are connected to the patient and the community,” Jones said.

Biology junior Josh Shandera, who is on the pre-med track, said he recognizes a disconnect between the different health resources at UT.

“I feel like the community is really splintered and having a central location for finding information would benefit the community and the students,” Shandera said.