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Highlighting IPE Faculty and Staff at UW

Leah Spacciante

Nurse Manager, 5NE at the University of Washington Medical Center 

This feature is part of our series highlighting the work of faculty and staff teaching and supporting IPE at UW.

Leah Spacciante, MN, RN is the nurse manager of 5NE, an acute care unit at the University of Washington Medical Center that specializes in advanced heart failure therapies as well as cardiothoracic surgery, including ventricular assist devices and heart and lung transplantation.  The unit has just over 90 employees, including registered nurses, certified nurse assistants, and cardiac monitor technicians.  She holds a Bachelor as well as Masters in Nursing from the University of Washington.  Since her senior practicum 16 years ago, Leah has worked on 5NE, being in the nurse manager role for the last 8 years.  

Leah Spacciante


How and why did you get involved with IPE?

Leah: "In my experience in health care, I have seen many patient care situations where conflict and confusion arise.  When reviewed, it always comes out that each person involved wanted the same outcome for the patient, but they were unable to communicate this effectively to each other and function at the highest level as team.  When approached by Dr. Zierler to participate in IPE with the advanced heart failure team, I was thrilled to be able to participate in and provide nursing staff with communication tools and structures to begin to move away from being expert nurses, but to use that expertise as a member of an expert advanced heart failure team.

What do you believe are the benefits of IPE?

Leah: Throughout our first round of education, it become very clear that there is a lack of knowledge and understanding amongst the health care professions on our roles, expertise, and how we can best contribute to the  interprofessional team.  Additionally, our schooling taught us all different ways and structures for communication.  Participating in in IPE is helping us grow structures and norms around our work to not only create the best possible experience for the patient, but help strengthen our relationships amongst the professions.

What has been the most memorable experience/highlight of teaching IPE so far?

Leah "For me, it has been seeing the impact for patients.  Through our education, we developed a structured rounding process that is at the bedside, including the patient and the interprofessinal team.  All members have a formal role.  Patients greatly appreciate this process, feeling more involved and informed in their care.