One Team, One Mission

That morning was frigid -- the type of bitter cold that reminded you that winter was just around the corner. Our Emergency Department (ED) received the dispatch that a Jane Doe was en route. A couple on their morning hike in the foothills had found her. She was wearing cut off jean shorts and a blue tank top. She arrived with a paramedic on top of her performing CPR. She was purple -- so purple that she looked almost cartoon-like.

For four relentless hours, during which every passing second felt like an eternity, the ED team coded her. Two doctors -- the only two in the ED -- took turns serving as the lead physician on her case; one in her room while the other ensured that the rest of the ED didn’t turn into utter chaos. Although both physicians played a huge role in Jane Doe’s care, her primary nurse was her true champion. She would not give up.

Her perseverance and refusal to quit inspired the rest of the team (including me, a lowly scribe) to continue pushing through, despite the extreme circumstances facing us.

Finally, after an agonizing four hours, the nurse felt a weak and thready pulse. Elation and tears of joy filled the room. Three days later, Jane Doe walked out of the hospital, alive and well.

It’s in cases like this that the incredible strength of the practice of interprofessional education and collaboration shines brightest.

For as long as I can remember, teamwork has been an intricate part of my life. I have always been part of a team, whether it was in sports, family, or clubs. Prior to moving to Yakima last July, I had been part of the ED team that cared for Jane Doe. I was only a scribe, but the physician I worked for always made me feel like a significant contributor, even though my job was just to be a "fly on the wall."

I started the Master of Arts in Medical Sciences (MAMS) program at Heritage University with a feeling that something was lacking from my life. I found my studies rewarding, but I needed something more. It wasn’t until I and two fellow MAMS students participated in a service-learning experience in interprofessional practice and education that I realized what I was missing – being part of a collaborative team.

The service-learning project led to a thought-provoking, deeper dive into IPE and an opportunity to interact with the members of the Student Engagement Committee of the Yakima Valley Interprofessional Practice & Education Collaborative (YVIPEC). These health professions students from across the YVIPEC, from whom I learned so much in a short time, are enthusiastic ambassadors of interprofessional and collaborative learning. Their passion and drive has served as motivation for me from the day I began the service-learning project.

Their passion and drive has served as motivation for me from the day I began the service-learning project.

I may still be a ‘fly on the wall’ at this early stage of my healthcare education, but when I’m part of an interprofessional health care team, I feel significant. I feel like a part of a team committed to providing the best care possible to those we serve and, at the end of the day, I feel so much more prepared to care for Jane Doe and all of my future patients.

Ashley Scott