Students Take First Place at National Competition
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Students Take First Place at National Competition

The team demonstrated their ability to work together to build a better health care system.

Written by Beth Phillips

The winners of the 2012 CLARION National Case Study Competition received a $7,500 scholarship.

The winners of the 2012 CLARION National Case Study Competition received a $7,500 scholarship.

A team of students recently placed first in the CLARION National Case Study Competition in Minnesota. First-year School of Nursing students Jessica Kirkendall and Connor Larson, and second-year School of Medicine student Michael Song, received a $7,500 Premier Richard Norling Scholarship.

The CLARION competition is led by the University of Minnesota where student teams from different health care professions, representing universities across the U.S., compete to resolve a fabricated health care error. Nine universities participated in this year’s competition, including the University of Missouri, Dartmouth College and the University of South Carolina.

“It’s been in invaluable experience to learn about different disciplines in health care and how they work together,” Kirkendall said. “I think that the general public needs to know what’s going on, because that’s what we’re doing it for – is to better our patients’ experience.”

In 2009, TTUHSC implemented a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) focusing on interprofessional teamwork. The plan was created in response to a requirement by the university’s regional accreditation agency to support the effectiveness of the learning environment, promoting student learning and accomplishing the institution’s mission. Participation in CLARION was selected as one of the strategies to promote interprofessional teamwork.

“Our students clearly demonstrated at nationals that TTUHSC has quality faculty who can provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for today’s complex health care systems,” said course facilitator Cindy Acton, DNP, R.N. “There is no doubt in my mind that through TTUHSC’s Interprofessional Education Initiatives, graduates will take leading roles in creating better health care systems.”

TTUHSC began enrolling in CLARION in 2010. By 2011, an online course, Root-Cause Analysis for Interprofessional Team Members, was offered to promote individual knowledge and skill acquisition related to root-cause analysis, quality improvement, patient safety and health care communication. The course is supported by local professionals who provide their expertise.

This year, TTUHSC opened the course to all students on all campuses. Administration has also set interprofessional education (IPE) as a priority. This fall, all incoming students are required to participate in a IPE common core curriculum to ensure all graduates possess the knowledge and skills to work collaboratively with other health professionals to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centered care.

Kirkendall said although she cannot compete at CLARION again, she would like to be a student adviser for future CLARION teams and at the upcoming QEP Bootcamp. She also plans to attend School of Nursing orientations to tell incoming students about what QEP and CLARION are all about.

“I think the whole initiative is really important,” Kirkendall said, “And I’ll do anything I can to try and promote it.”

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Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 743-2143.


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