Penn Shenango Explores Cross-Discipline Collaboration in Health Care

SHARON, Pa. – Two faculty members at Penn State Shenango, one in nursing and one in human development and family studies, have teamed up to launch an interprofessional collaboration between their fields of study.

Using classroom technology and video instruction, assistant teaching professor Maureen Dunn and human development instructor Roxanne Atterholt have worked together to help students in both fields better understand the material in both fields.

The first project allowed students to jointly examine the ethics of conceiving a child for the purpose of aiding treatment of a sibling with cancer, inspired by the film My Sister’s Keeper.

“In the spring of 2017, I read a journal article titled My Sister’s Keeper: An Innovative Interprofessional Ethics Teaching and Learning Strategy for Nursing and Social Work Students which really piqued my interest, said Dunn in a release. “We have been hearing and learning so much about interprofessional education that I decided to reach out to Roxanne, who teaches the upper level classes of our HDFS program, to see if she was interested in our two groups of students collaborating on a classroom project.”

Afterward, both teachers attended a two-day workshop on interprofessional education at Hershey Medical Center to improve the effort.

“While we were there, we saw many other Penn State teams who were also developing new initiatives for students from various disciplines,” Atterholt said in a release. “We were also able to see the fine work that the Interprofessional Education Collaborative is doing to support academic institutions across the country in preparing future health professionals to enter the workforce ready for interprofessional collaborative practice.”

This school year, students in Penn State Shenango’s Health Concepts for Adults with Complex Health Care Needs course, taught by Dunn, and Family Relationships, led by Atterholt, were combined.

During the class, students watched a video covering the ethical dilemmas of pre-implantation genetic selection then had a discussion on the ethics of genetic selection and personal and professional values. Finally, students were assigned readings related to the ethics of “savior siblings” and took part in a group meeting where they reflected on the course.

Dunn and Atterholt plan to present their project at professional workshops and conferences.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.