When the beeping of a nearby medical machine triggers a veteran’s post-traumatic stress disorder, the scene can turn volatile.

It’s a situation that Concordia University Ann Arbor graduates may well encounter in their careers. That’s why the university is taking steps to ready its students to better work with fellow professionals to find solutions in high-intensity situations.

CUAA School of Nursing faculty have placed an emphasis on increasing its students’ opportunities for interprofessional education (IPE) with other students in different programs. A growing trend among health care circles across the nation, IPE occurs when two or more professions learn with, about, and from each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.

Simulation offers the most realistic, hands-on way for students to practice their skills, says Anita Simmons, director of simulation. While IPE simulation is most commonly practiced in health care fields, CUAA nursing is including programs such as Concordia’s criminal justice and public policy program (JPP), which is housed in the Haab School of Business, to create enhanced IPE opportunities.

“We don’t have to say ‘pretend like this is happening’ or ‘make-believe this is going on,’” said Simmons. “We actually make it happen.”

In the past year, for example, CUAA nursing and JPP students have taken on scenarios involving a nurse who completes a home visit in an alleged domestic abuse environment with the help of a police escort to ensure safety. They’ve also simulated a flood of emotion in the emergency room while needing to maintain care for the patient after parents learn of their teenaged child’s involvement in a post-prom drunk driving accident.

“Our students will come to learn that their day-to-day work lives may often involve emotionally charged scenes,” Simmons says. “Our goal is to help them mentally prepare for the emotional aspects of their future careers, as well.”

Have you seen CUAA’s simulation center? See below for a complete tour of the North Building.

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— Rachel Thoms served on Concordia University's Strategic Communications team from 2015-2022. Any inquiries about this story can be sent to news@cuaa.edu.

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