June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Industry and engineering accreditors alike recognize the need for engineers who function well on interdisciplinary teams. To meet this need, undergraduate engineering programs often include project-based course work that brings a variety of engineering disciplines together for work on an engineering design problem. Studies show these courses increase the diversity of ideas and styles that engineering students are exposed to during their education. However, educators must also recognize that merely bringing different engineers together is a poor representation of the groups with which engineers must work collaboratively while in industry. Montana State University has a lengthy track record of developing graduate interprofessional education between the colleges of engineering and nursing. A new program, the Native Healthcare Engineering Internship, was recently piloted to expand this experience to undergraduate students. The program partners undergraduate engineering and nursing students to work with industry in order to improve the operations of rural healthcare centers in Montana. Through this program, students not only gain experience working on an interprofessional team, they also work to address key challenges facing our nation and Montana. The costs of the health care system in the United States have rapidly become a critical national issue. Health care spending currently absorbs over 17% of GDP, nearly twice the average of the 34 OECD member nations and nearly 1.5 times the next highest country. While prior research has generated meaningful improvements in health care delivery, the vast majority of this activity focuses on improvements in large urban centers, which has placed “rural communities . . . at the margins of the health care quality movement [with] most quality initiatives . . . not directly applicable to rural health care settings.” This work explores the design of the internship program, the challenges of interprofessional education and approaching improvement projects in rural healthcare settings, and the benefits the partner organizations and students received from the experience.
Millett, C., & Schell, W. J., & Kuntz, S. W., & Sobek, D. K. (2017, June), The Native Healthcare Engineering Internship: Interprofessional Approaches to Improving Rural Healthcare Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28987
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