My original idea to drive change in my organization is still something I want to do. My vision is to see a day when dental hygienists actively collaborate with other healthcare providers to improve health outcomes for their patients. Some examples would be: a hygienist discussing high blood pressure readings with a patient’s primary care physician or referring a patient to get screened for diabetes because the patient hasn’t healed well after periodontal therapy. There are so many health conditions that manifest themselves in the mouth; it’s important to realize that oral care is a healthcare specialty. After all, the mouth is connected to the body. Why are dentistry and healthcare seen as separate entities?
I can envision hygienists, nurses, dieticians, and other professionals working together to help patients achieve good overall health.
My idea for interprofessional collaboration would start with professional education. This would begin in the classroom, where students from different disciplines would take courses together with the goal of getting them accustomed to communicating with each other and collaborating on case studies. The research thus far indicates that blended learning would be an ideal vehicle to accomplish this.
With this goal in mind, I want to start with a smaller, more manageable piece of the puzzle. I think small changes are necessary before big changes can be successful. My focus right now is to take one of my classes, Radiography, and turn it into a blended course. Once I can show our PD and Academic Dean how successful it can be, we can move toward converting more classes and eventually achieve assimilation of different disciplines into blended courses that they take together. It will be double blended: blending different types of students in online blended courses! I’m excited for our future…