Around 200 healthcare students and 23 faculty members from Qatar University’s (QU) College of Pharmacy (CPH), College of Medicine (CMED) and College of Health Sciences (CHS); University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) and College of the North Atlantic-Qatar (CNA-Q) participate in an activity on smoking cessation organized by QU Health Interprofessional Education Committee (IPEC).

The activity engaged students and faculty members from various healthcare professions including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, pharmacy technician, public health and respiratory therapy. The IPE activity aimed to train students on providing care related to smoking cessation in a collaborative and integrative manner focusing on role clarification, inter-professional communication and shared decision making.

The program agenda started with welcoming remarks by CPH Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and QU Health IPEC Chair Dr. Alla El-Awaisi. It was followed by an ice-breaker activity to familiarize the students with the concept of inter-professional education and how to share the commonalities and differences of their respective academic disciplines and professional backgrounds. To set up the context, students were given 20 minutes to share their knowledge and experiences regarding the impact of tobacco on health and wellbeing in the form of a group-based discussion.

The issue of smoking cessation was addressed through an interactive case based discussion about a heavy 65-year-old smoker who was admitted to hospital with an exacerbation of her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The students followed the patient from admission to discharge by sharing different healthcare perspectives on the case and making a shared decision together. They were then asked to interview a simulated patient, collaboratively collect all the relevant data and provide the patient with a comprehensive care plan and counseling.

Commenting on the activity, CPH Chair of Clinical Pharmacy and Practice Section and Associate Professor Dr. Maguy El Hajj said, Smoking is one of the greatest burdens on healthcare systems in Qatar. Healthcare professionals in Qatar have excellent opportunities to combat this burden. This smoking cessation IPE event was of the utmost importance to train our future healthcare professionals in the care of patients who wish to quit smoking. Together, students were able to provide an action plan and discussed how to follow up with patients. These students will be able to provide the future of Qatar’s healthcare needs.

UCQ coordinator of the Continuing Professional Development and Lead Representative at IPEC, Ms. Kathleen de Leon-Demare said: This IPE activity was valuable learning for faculty as well as students. By sharing clinical guidelines, change theories and evidence-based tools to develop this IPE activity, we added to our toolkit on the topic of smoking cessation. This health issue is a priority for all health professionals and is best tackled using an inter-professional approach.

CMED second year medical student Aya Ayman Abdel Hamid said: IPE was a unique learning experience for me. Having the opportunity to meet students from different healthcare professionals and getting to know them made me realize how much we have in common even on a personal level. For instance, when we talked about why we chose out specialties, I realized that we nearly have the same reason as we all had that passion to aid people and care for them, but what is different between us is that each one of us decided to carry that passion from the spot that suits them best. In addition, I believe that IPE has a significant role in eliminating negative stereotypes healthcare students have towards different professions.

CHS third year public health student Sana Ahmed Elashie said: Attending the IPE activity was a powerful opportunity to meet other professionals from other backgrounds and other perspectives. Everyone looked at the case from completely different angles. Activities like these assist the students in enjoying their field of work to achieve more and more in their area.

CNA-Q second year pharmacy technician student Abrar Ahmed said: This activity was helpful in a way to see other healthcare professionals’ thoughts and knowledge. Some of their interesting facts related to their profession made me 100% sure to continue studying pharmacy.

The IPE Committee (IPEC) was founded in 2014 by Qatar University College of Pharmacy to provide guidance and support in implementing IPE within the pharmacy curriculum, as well as in QU partner healthcare training programs in the country. It was moved to QU Health level in September 2017, which was established to jointly design, implement and evaluate IPE initiatives at QU Health working alongside other healthcare programs in Qatar.

Source: Qatar University