June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Design in Engineering Education
Professional experiences are a cornerstone of both bioengineering and nursing undergraduate programs. Bioengineering students gain real-world experience by participating in their team-based senior-design capstone projects. Similarly, Nursing students typically complete coursework that exposes them to other professional fields as part of transitioning to professional practice. At the University of Pittsburgh, the Department of Bioengineering (BioE) incorporates a two-semester senior design course requiring teams to independently identify an unmet clinical need and subsequently formulate a solution that addresses this need. Senior Nursing students at Pittsburgh are required to complete a Transitions to Professional Practice (Transitions) didactic course that provides an opportunity to explore non-traditional areas of nursing, such as law or public policy.
Recognizing the need for both improved clinical access and more rapid clinical design feedback, the BioE and Nursing Departments at Pittsburgh developed a partnership in the fall 2018 semester in which Nursing students were embedded within BioE senior design teams. BioE design students and Nursing Transitions students were initially introduced at a networking event, at which BioE design teams presented a poster indicating areas of interest in healthcare (e.g., cardiology). In pursuit of a mutual fit, the Nursing students similarly discussed their respective interests in healthcare specialties and any unmet clinical needs they identified during their practice. Resulting interdisciplinary design teams of engineering and nursing students, then, pursued unmet needs identification towards selection of a project topic, followed ultimately by design, fabrication, and verification and validation-based evaluations of the solution. Nursing students can uniquely facilitate and provide rapid clinical feedback throughout the design process. The Nursing students also participated in didactic instruction in the regulatory and reimbursement aspects of medical product design, including participation in the development of a risk-based design history file. This approach is aligned with the World Health Organization’s call for providing interprofessional education to create “collaborative practice-ready” health care professionals.
Based on preliminary interview data collected, we anticipate that both BioE and nursing students will benefit from this partnership. Students’ initial perceptions of creating the interprofessional teams have been overwhelmingly positive. For the BioE students, the Nursing students’ clinical experience and knowledge were the most frequently declared benefits during initial student interviews. For the nursing students, working as part of a team and establishing relationships was mentioned most frequently as the key benefit. The nursing students also acknowledged the advantages of their clinical experience to the design process and valued being part of the solution. We will also assess student gains and benefits from the interprofessional education using the Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Scale (ICCAS). In addition, we plan to analyze team performance data, such as project-related scores, including comparisons to BioE design teams without Nursing student members. Literature suggests there is both a need and current opportunity to implement interprofessional education across diverse professional disciplines.
Dukes, A. A., & Sowko, L. A., & Gartner, M., & Barber, B. J., & Clark, R. M. (2019, June), Board 31: Assessing the Impact of Embedding Nursing Students in Bioengineering Senior Design Projects: Student Perceptions of Interprofessional Team Benefits and Challenges Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32321
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