Using Design Thinking to Reshape Interprofessional Curricula for Healthcare Trainees

Nursing; Interpersonal/Small Group Communication; Cognition and Perception; Medicine and Health (Sociology); Education; Compassion

This project consists of Architecture, Nursing, and Medicine faculty, utilizing an Empathic Design Thinking Approach to Develop an Interprofessional Curriculum for Health Care Trainees.

Research Interests
  • Curriculum design
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Workforce Diversity
  • Design Thinking
  • 21st Century Workplace

Providing effective healthcare requires a team-based approach. However, in current practice, there is frequently a gap in cross-disciplinary understanding; such as between nurses and physicians. This is driving a national conversation regarding better educational approaches to building essential interprofessional competencies. Work is underway to build this at UVA within the SOM and Nursing. However, current opportunities lack integration and a holistic framework. In this 3Cavs initiative, we will apply a socio - cultural design thinking framework developed in the School of Architecture’s Design Thinking program to examine and address this lack of integration within interprofessional curricula for health care trainees at UVA. This new collaboration between faculty at the Schools of Architecture, Medicine and Nursing will draw upon diverse expertise, create exciting new interprofessional connections for students, create the basis for future funding, and inform curricular development across multiple UVA training institutions.

Our project will apply an empathy-based / design thinking approach to examine current recommended interprofessional education (IPE) competencies in order to understand gaps between curricular implementation and the actual practical experience of interprofessional daily work. The pedagogy originates from Design Thinking (the strategies, systems, and processes designers utilize when creating human environments).  Tested in educational, community, and professional settings, participants learn skills for the 21st century student - how to collaborate, fundamentals of oral and visual communication, critical thinking, resilience, and process orientation. The understanding gained by this study will be used to inform  future curricular design here at UVA and beyond.

Desired outcomes

This 3Cavs project will help prioritize interprofessional curricular goals for multiple schools at UVA including nursing, medicine, and architecture.  The report generated by graduate students will be presented to educational leaders at all involved schools.  Additionally, the work in this project lays the groundwork for a future grant application.