The MUSC College of Nursing has received the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award that recognizes the outstanding work of AACN member schools to re-envision traditional models for nursing education and lead programmatic change. 

The College of Nursing was recognized for its innovative approach to interprofessional education through its Virtual Interprofessional Learning (VIP), an innovative asynchronous platform utilizing Avatars to engage learners in interprofessional (IP) learning opportunities across disciplines, universities, and geographies. In 2014, with the support of a grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation the college created VIP as an online interactive learning experience to increase students’ IP engagement, knowledge of patient quality and safety, and IP communication. 
 
The VIP platform is a virtual health care setting that utilizes avatars.  The Interprofessional Education Collaborative Core Competencies (IPEC) guided the development of the VIP with a focus on patient care quality and safety and IP communication competencies. MUSC students from nursing, medicine, and pharmacy completed the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) root cause analysis and communication modules to build baseline knowledge before entering the virtual environment. Via the VIP platform, students interactively conducted a root cause analysis through a complex case in a virtual world scenario. Unique to the evaluation plan is the ability of the VIP platform to assess a number of IPEC competencies through automated scoring, populating at the end of the virtual student experience. Additional evaluation tools include focus groups, a self-assessment of IP practice in patient care and a user experience tool.         
 
This innovative approach helps advance IP education from siloed, limited experiences to accessible, innovative and interactive opportunities that are not bound by time or place. The VIP platform is portable, exportable and generalizable and will promote incorporation of IP education in a wide variety of clinical scenarios and locations. 
 
“We were thrilled to receive this award from the AACN that recognizes our faculty and staff's hard work and dedication to develop and implement an innovative interprofessional program that will educate and engage our future health care professionals," said Gail W. Stuart, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing.

During the Academic Nursing Leadership Conference, only three schools in the U.S. were honored with the Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award in the following categories.

  • Small School/Liberal Arts Schools - St. Mary's College
  • Academic Health Center (AHC) - MUSC College of Nursing
  • Public School without an AHC - Mennonite College of Nursing (Illinois State University)

“We were thrilled to receive this award from the AACN that recognizes our faculty and staff's hard work and dedication to develop and implement an innovative interprofessional program that will educate and engage our future health care professionals," said Gail W. Stuart, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing.

The award, including a monetary prize of $1,000, was presented on Oct. 28 at the AACN leadership conference in Washington, D.C.