Student Ambassador Blog | Jessica P
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
One of my favorite parts of the USC OT program is that our learning doesn’t just stop in the classroom. Whether it’s going out to a hospital for fieldwork or to skid row to volunteer at the USC Student-Run Clinic (SRC), there are endless opportunities to apply our OT knowledge. One of the amazing opportunities we have to get involved through our Adulthood and Aging course is the Interprofessional Geriatrics Curriculum (IPGC).
IPGC is a chance for us to work with students from different disciplines including physical therapy, medicine, physician’s assistant, pharmacy, social work, and psychology. We get divided into teams and then paired with an older adult living in a low-income community housing complex.
Throughout the semester we spend a few Friday afternoons at the community housing complex where we get brief lectures on topics related to our visit, such as oral health, cognition, fall prevention, and psychosocial issues. After our lecture, we meet with our older adult to learn more about them and apply what we learned during our lecture.
This past Friday, I had my first IPGC visit where we started out the afternoon with a lecture on medication management and nutrition in older adults. Professors from pharmacy and medicine gave us resources, such as the Beers list, to utilize in our future practice.
After our lecture, we broke up into our teams and met our older adult who we will be working throughout the rest of the semester. We spent a lot of time building rapport with our resident and getting to know her story. My teammates and I discussed her various medications and different side-effects that may occur from those. As an OT student, my main role was teaching her how to utilize a pill box organizer and implement taking medications into her daily routines. We also discussed the importance of healthy, balanced meals and how this can influence the aging process.
The afternoon flew by so quickly that we were all sad to have our time come to an end. I felt as if we really got to know our resident and build rapport with her. After we met with our resident, our team debriefed on what went well for us as a team and identified strategies to improve on for next time. As occupational therapists, we often work in teams so learning how to navigate conflicts and communicate effectively is key and IPGC is the perfect place to begin practicing this.