IPE Profile

Stephanie Wladkowski

Brief professional description

I have several years of clinical practice as a social worker in hospice and palliative care working with families in end of life. Prior to working in hospice, I provided individual psychotherapy in a community mental health agency, college counseling center, and a residential eating disorder treatment center.

I have presented on social work practice issues in end-of-life care nationally and my current research interests include the experience of loss for caregivers of adults with dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and social work practice and policies in aging and end-of-life care. I am passionate about teaching and mentoring new clinicians and strives to create a collaborative learning environment.

How and why did you get involved?

Working in end-of-life care is all about collaborative teamwork (all the time) so for me, it was a no brainer. I strive to give social work students as high quality training as possible and incorporating opportunities to learn with and from other professions is at the core of my instruction. IPE does just that: allows students to learn about other professions, dispel myths or misconceptions, and highlights the often-overlooked commonalities between professions.

Also, as a faculty member new to EMU, I was interested in connecting with other faculty members of professional programs and learning how we might build collaborative learning experiences for students. Being involved in the IPE Scholars Program helped me learn more about programs on our campus that I was unfamiliar with and meet colleagues from outside my department.

What do you believe are the benefits?

The main benefit is for the students. They have an opportunity to integrate real life experiences of working with other professionals in the classroom, which enhances the curriculum we offer.

In addition to students engaging in a beneficial learning exercise, this was a simple way to combine instruction with scholarship! IPE requires an evaluative component, which means I was able to collect data on the classroom exercises and disseminate this research at regional and national conferences.

What has been the most memorable experience or highlight of teaching IPE so far?

Watching students teach each other! Students take over and explain the technical skill, the purpose of their role, and their professional goal of the patient interaction to the other profession. It happens organically and allows students to surprise themselves in realizing how much they know.

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