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Buffalo, New York. Photo: Thinkstock.

Australian students compare treatments with US counterparts

Nursing students from New South Wales gained insights into US approaches to opioid dependency after linking up with 900 University at Buffalo students via videoconferencing.

Professor Cynthia Stuhlmiller from the School of Health at UB, said exercises such as the video link up help bring together multiple disciplines to tackle health problems.

The collaboration involved University of New England students from schools of nursing, social work, medicine, occupational and physical therapy, dentistry, pharmacy and management.

The forum introduced students to a clinical case presentation involving a person with opioid dependency who had overdosed on heroin. The different disciplines were required to develop a treatment plan for the fictional patient.

Stuhlmiller said the exercise drove home the idea that quality, patient-centred, cost-effective healthcare requires collaboration across all professions.

“What was most interesting is that the Buffalo students recommended referring the patient, whereas the UNE students were more patient focused,” she added. “They suggested talking to the patient and finding out what was going on or if there was a suicide risk. They had a more holistic approach to patient care, rather than just referring.”

Stuhlmiller said this type of simulation allows students to see how other practitioners operate and innovate.

“It brings an international richness on a global level without the travel,” she explained. “I want to do far more of this cross-education and have a global curriculum where people can have an enriched education experience without having to travel.”

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