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Highlighting IPE Faculty at UW - Dan Low

Dan Low, UW Department of Anesthesiology

This feature is part of a new series highlighting the work of faculty teaching IPE at UW.

Dr. Dan Low facilitates an interprofessional team training session each month at UW Medical Center’s Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies (ISIS). Medical students in their anesthesia rotation are teamed with PharmD and senior undergraduate nursing students and run through a one-day crew resource management (CRM) course. Utilizing team communication exercises and simulation scenarios, students practice their medical and teamwork skills in a safe environment with the goals of learning how to work together using knowledge and attitudes cultivated within the framework of CRM.

[Crew Resource Management in healthcare is an integrated training, process improvement and management system that uses all available resources including people, process and technology to enhance safety and operational efficiency.]

In the two years and 26 team training sessions run to date, Dr. Low has brought together over 230 interprofessional students. For most of the students this session will be the only exposure to IPE team training before being sent out into practice with real patients.  

Dan Low, MD
UW Dept. of Anesthesiology and IPE Instructor

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Why (and how) did you get involved with IPE? 

Dr. Low: I have been involved with IPE for over a decade, it wasn't even called IPE!  It started from my interest in education and specifically high fidelity simulation education.  When I arrived at UW/Seattle Children’s I was asked to take the lead for the medical student simulation teaching for the Anesthesia department.  This is how the CRM (crew resource management) course evolved, with the help of grant funds from the Macy Foundation; Brian Ross (School of Medicine); Brenda Zierler, Debra Liner, Lauren Cline (School of Nursing); and Nancy Murphy (School of Pharmacy) we successfully recruited volunteer students from nursing and pharmacy to participate.  The program has been running for over two years.

What do you believe are the benefits of IPE?

Dr. Low: The benefits of IPE are best expressed by the students themselves.  Recurring themes are they really appreciate working together with other students from different disciplines.  They realize they come with lots of (inaccurate) preconceptions with each others’ skills, training and knowledge.  During the course they learn how to work together using skills, knowledge and attitudes cultivated within the framework of CRM.

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

Dr. Low: Lots of highlights!  One of the most common student comments is that this course should be mandatory to all healthcare students regardless of discipline.  I get immense joy each month watching the teams come together and outperform the 'real' teams in running a complex code. The students are not ALS trained, many have never been involved in a code, yet by the end of the afternoon they perform better than the real teams on objective criteria (quality of CPR, adherence to protocol, minimal hands-off time, shorter pre-shock pause times). Without exception all teams suddenly get the 'ah ha' moment when they realize the teamwork skills they have been assimilating suddenly gives them a massive boost in team performance.

Daniel Low, BMedSci, BMBS, MRCPCH, FRCA is an Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine at the University of Washington. He also works at Seattle Children’s Hospital and in 2011 he was awarded the UW Golden Seed Award for excellence in teaching. Dr. Low attended the University Of Nottingham Medical School, UK and completed his postgraduate training in pediatric medicine/neoatology at the Royal College of Pediatric and Child Health (UK). Dr. Low has also received training in anesthesia and critical care, sub-specializing in pediatric anesthesia. Dr. Low has been involved in medical simulation for over 10 years.