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Idaho State University

ISU-Meridian faculty begin rigorous training to improve education of students, clinicians, and communities

July 1,  2019 - MERIDIAN, ID

A group of ISU-Meridian faculty from numerous health disciplines are working together with the help of professional mentors to enhance the experience for students learning to care for patients with cancer. An interprofessional education (IPE) team comprised of five ISU faculty members was selected to participate in the Interprofessional Education Exchange (iPEX) project for 2019-2020. The iPEX training course is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

The program is designed to support the development of IPE in cancer care.  The group will address palliative care learning needs of students, rural community members and practicing clinicians across the state. The group is made up of the following faculty:

  • Susan Tavernier, PhD (nursing)
  • Barbara Mason, PharmD (pharmacy)
  • Logan Lamprecht, PhD (counseling)
  • Barbara Gordon, MBA, RDN, LD (dietetics)
  • Shauna Smith, MS, CCC-SLP (speech/language pathology)

Susan Tavernier, assistant professor of nursing at ISU, says “palliative care is the definition of nursing. Caring for patients with chronic disease and working to improve, through multiple disciplines, their quality of life.”

The group applied for entrance into the program in early 2019 and was selected as one of just eight groups in the U.S. who will receive the training at no charge. Their selection was based on their list of focused objectives, along with the unique design of shared classroom and clinic space at the ISU-Meridian campus. Objectives include the creation of an IPE curriculum in palliative care that can be utilized across the health professions programs in the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences. Their proposal states, “Initial efforts will focus on the disciplines reflected in this proposal—nursing, pharmacy, dietetics, counseling and speech language pathology. We hope to broaden the audience to include other programs such as PT/OT, audiology and physician assistant studies. The project team was selected with the goal of developing a palliative care oncology curriculum within a wellness framework.”

The group will begin by working with iPEX faculty to assess opportunities and any barriers that may exist for developing and implementing the new curriculum for each of the three audiences, along with identifying gaps in palliative care coverage in Idaho. They will then begin building the curriculum utilizing training and tools tailored specifically for ISU and provided by iPEX professional mentors to put it into practice. The program also includes an evaluation of their results at the conclusion of the program. Courses will be offered online by iPEX faculty, with one in-person workshop and presentation event.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, the group plans to begin implementing the new curriculum and coursework for students, practicing clinicians, and rural community health workers. The content of the courses will be similar for the three groups, but the delivery will be customized based on the audience. Tavernier says, “The palliative care content is important because chronic disease in on the rise. It crosses disciplines, it crosses settings, whether it’s homecare, hospital care, community health, it’s applicable to almost any patient. You can use the concepts of palliative care with almost every single patient you come across.”