Collaborative Healthcare: Interprofessional Practice, Education and Evaluation (JCIPE)


Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) has initiated an innovative interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) model at its Family Health Clinic (FHC), a nurse managed center, located at the main campus in Godfrey, Illinois. The FHC previously operated successfully for seven years, and has exceeded the projected impact with the numbers of individuals served in the community. The project is innovative and distinctive in providing an IPCP model in that it is inter-institutional, with several of the participating practitioners from institutions other than L&C. The core leadership of the model remains with the nursing professionals at the FHC. It is important to note that a community college is the “home” institution of this interprofessional partnership; fully 46% of students in the U.S. begin their education at a community college (AACC, 2015), and 57% of all nursing graduates begin their academic career with an associate degree from a community college (HRSA, 2013). The integration of interprofessional education (IPE) and practice is becoming more imperative in healthcare, and this model has been created to demonstrate the incorporation of this synthesis in the community college setting. At the core mission of a community college is service to one’s community through partnerships with businesses, healthcare organizations, and other educational institutions. Therefore, it is appropriate that an inter-institutional practice model of IPCP be implemented at a community college.

The FHC model of interprofessional collaborative practice is providing services of primary care, health education, and prevention to medically underserved populations in rural and urban areas of southwest Illinois. The centralized origin of these services is an accessible nurse managed center with outreach provided through a mobile health unit. The collaboration involves the cooperative participation of practitioners in nursing, dental, exercise science, and occupational therapy and external partners that include: a university-based dental school, a mental health services organization, a federally qualified health center, a university-based school of nursing with baccalaureate and master’s programs, and county health departments. Innovation of the project is exemplified in the interprofessional collaborative practice of several types of practitioners, all involved in outreach to medically underserved populations. The utilization of students from the fields of nursing, dental hygiene, exercise science, and occupational therapy assistant will support the services. A key feature of the practice model is the Clinical Care Coordinator, who is responsible for interprofessional communication and activities among the healthcare professionals and patients. The Clinical Care Coordinator will help clients served by the project to receive appropriate care, including health education, and follow up to these services, which may involve compliance with medication regimens, exercise programs, and dietary modification.