Duke’s Inter-professional Education Clinic Offers Unique Experience for Students and Patients


Students and Faculty look at computer monitor

(left to right) Rheaya Willis, Medical Student; Laura Previll, MD; Jeff Marcotte, PA; Elizabeth Mathenge, Medical Student; Iris Padilla, PhD, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC; Mackenzie Tulleners, Nurse Practitioner Student; Deanna Griffie, Nurse Practitioner Student

Launched in 2015, Duke Health’s Inter-professional Education (IPE) Clinic recently treated its 1,000th patient, marking a major milestone.

The clinic, located in Duke University Hospital, offers a unique learning and patient care experience. Staffed by nursing, medical, physician assistant, and physical therapy program faculty members and students from these same programs, the clinic provides urgent care services to patients from the emergency room who present with less acute symptoms.

“Together, faculty and students work with patients to determine the underlying causes of their pain and prescribe next steps, which could include further testing or medication,” said Alison Clay, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Medicine. “Patients with sore throats and cold symptoms or musculoskeletal issues like back or knee pain are commonly seen in the clinic.”

While interdisciplinary collaborations are not new to education, inter-professional faculty-students clinics like this one are rare. Duke is one of the first schools to successfully launch an education-focused clinic.

Various medical students and a doctor interact with patient as a team.

(left to right) Ron Olson, MD; Amanda Beaty, Physical Therapy Student; Patient; Caroline Shore, Physician Assistant Student; Lauren Sweet, Medical Student

“This clinic has been vital in placing the learner at the center of the mix of providing exceptional patient care while allowing students from various programs to work together side by side,” said Edward Buckley, MD, Vice Dean for Education, School of Medicine. ”Students have the chance to see first-hand the different roles and responsibilities of the care team members.” Buckley led the establishment of the IPE Clinic.

“The IPE clinic was a really distinctive experience in that it provided the unique opportunity to care for  patients together with other clinical students in a more intimate and collaborative setting,” said fourth year medical student Liz Mathenge. “As a medical student, this was unlike anything I had been experienced before, and it allowed me to see first-hand how other clinicians and providers think about their patients, and how we can all come together to complement each other.”

 “As the health care needs of patients with chronic conditions increase, health care professionals from differing disciplines must collaborate to improve health outcomes,” said Marion Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the School of Nursing. “There is growing recognition that inter-professional collaboration improves communication and leads to better health care delivery and patient outcomes.”

Doctor, Physical Therapy student and medical student interact with a patient.

(left to right) Anne Gross, Physical Therapy Student; Patient; Jeff Hoder, PT, DPT, NCS; Jamie Farquhar, Medical Student

When the clinic first opened only nurse practitioner and medical students worked in the clinic, receiving rotation credit. Now, the clinic includes students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree program as well as physician assistant and physical therapy students. Clinic leaders hope to continue its growth by adding other health professions such as social work to the interdisciplinary mix.

Student interest in the clinic is growing as well.  One group of students recently wrote a Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI) grant to help connect patients in the clinic with community resources.  Nursing and medical students also have taken a clinic leadership elective, where they taught in the clinic and also initiated quality improvement projects and developed additional teaching modules. 

Each program has identified faculty leads to help organize and run the clinic.  These leads include:

  • Alison Clay, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Medicine
  • Michelle Hartman, DNP, RN, NP, Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Jeff Hoder, PT, DPT, NCS, Associate Professor, Physical Therapy
  • Nicholas Hudak, MsED, MPA, PA-C, Assistant Professor, Physician Assistant
  • Erin Leiman, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery
  • B. Iris Padilla, PhD, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Jason Theiling, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery

One rather unique aspect of the clinic is the involvement of teaching faculty each night from a broad range of disciplines, making the clinic both inter-professional and interdisciplinary.  Faculty teaching in the clinic over the last 2 years include:

  • Zachary Baker PA
  • Lynn Bowlby, MD, Duke Internal Medicine
  • Ashley Britt, PA
  • Gregory Brown, MD, Duke Psychiatry and Internal Medicine
  • Lindsey Brun, MHS, PA
  • Gwendolen Buhr, MD, Geriatrics
  • Talal Dahhan, MD, Duke Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
  • Patrick Dillon, MMSC, PA
  • Stephanie Eucker, MD, PhD, Duke Surgery-Emergency Medicine
  • Dean Harrison, MPAS
  • Tony Huang, MD, Duke Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
  • Larry Greenblatt, MD, Duke Internal Medicine
  • Jeffrey Marcotte PA
  • Gaea McCaig, PA
  • Andrew McGraw, PA
  • Ron Olson, MD, Community and Family Medicine
  • Fabiana Ortiz-Figueroa, MD, Duke Surgery-Emergency Medicine
  • John Roberts, MD, Duke Internal Medicine, Nephrology
  • Laura Previll, MD, Duke Internal Medicine
  • Richard Sepka, MS, PA
  • Kevin Shah, MD, Duke Internal Medicine
  • Lauren Siewny, MD, Duke Surgery- Emergency Medicine
  • Joel Stoia, PA
  • Traci Thoureen, MD, Duke Surgery-Emergency Medicine
  • Kathleen Waite, MD, Duke Internal Medicine