Typically, an academic medical center teams a college of medicine and university hospital in a mutually beneficial relationship that supports medical students in their education and the medical center in the provision of patient care. We do that…and more. At The University of Vermont Medical Center, we have uniquely transformed this model into an interprofessional network among medical, nursing, and other health sciences professionals with the potential to impact health care quality and delivery in the community and nationwide.
The newly founded University of Vermont Medical Center and University of Vermont Health Network expand our ability as health care professionals to serve the health and wellbeing of our community, educate students, and develop new knowledge in the health sciences. It’s incredibly exciting to see this happening.
As a fundamental part of this network, the University of Vermont’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences connects talented faculty practitioners, scientists, and scholars with the next generation of health care providers in the fields of nursing, exercise and movement science, athletic training, physical therapy, medical laboratory science, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine technology, and communication sciences and disorders. Our students practice side-by-side with clinical professionals in the University of Vermont Health Network.
Just a few examples of this model at work:
- Undergraduate students in radiation therapy work with cancer patients in the Radiation Oncology Department;
- Nuclear medicine technology students observe PET, bone, and cardiac scan procedures in the hospital;
- Medical laboratory science students work with diagnostic laboratory specialists;
- Nursing students learn from nurse and physician colleagues in obstetrics, pediatrics, and on medical-surgical floors, among other areas;
- Athletic training and exercise and movement science students take advantage of experience with emergency medicine services, nutritionists, physical therapists, and surgeons; and
- Communication sciences and disorders students observe clinicians working with patients with acute and chronic speech, language, hearing, and swallowing conditions.
Our graduate students in physical therapy, nursing and communication sciences and disorders have extraordinary opportunities to support the needs of patients and their families following health challenges such as stroke, orthopedic surgery, cancer treatment and traumatic brain injury. They also learn from and provide support in primary care to facilitate health outcomes through prevention and rehabilitation. These student-clinician relationships provide an unparalleled opportunity to develop integrated strategies for whole patient care that students will carry into their careers.
Together, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the College of Medicine and the University of Vermont Medical Center and Health Network represent a model for integrated health care services and a powerful interprofessional knowledge network able to provide holistic, innovative, and accessible health care, and health care education of the highest caliber – now, and for the future.
Patricia Prelock, PhD, is dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, professor of communication sciences & disorders, and professor of pediatrics in the University of Vermont College of Medicine at The University of Vermont Medical Center.