On a crisp Saturday morning, I had the pleasure to drop by the IMAGINE Clinic. What is the IMAGINE Clinic you may ask? The Interprofessional Medical and Allied Groups for Improving Neighbourhood Environments (IMAGINE) Clinic is a student-run clinic which aims to serve the city’s most marginalized citizens. The clinic welcomes individuals who are unable to access the public healthcare system; those who do not have an OHIP card, a permanent address, or any form of identification.
While aiming to serve this vulnerable population, the clinic also fosters the development of interprofessional collaboration through its model of operation. It did not take long for me to also appreciate how the clinic was designed to develop teamwork skills. An important aspect among healthcare professions is working together to provide quality patient care. We often “hear” about this notion in class, but sometimes it’s hard to imagine what it would be like. But the IMAGINE Clinic provides an amazing opportunity to experience it first-hand! During my visit to the clinic, I learned that the clinic aims to group volunteer-students from various professional faculties such as medicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy, social work, and nursing. When a patient visits the clinic, the initial information is taken in and provided to the students. Among the students, they decide which two professions would be best to tackle the case. These two students would then collect more information from the patient and come back to the group and provide their findings. From there, the group decides the best course of action for the patient. There are also licensed preceptors present throughout the process to overlook the students’ work and to enhance the learning experience.
I also had the opportunity to listen in on a “reflection session” which is done when students finish their rotation at the IMAGINE Clinic. Many of the students commented how they were able to learn about what each profession can do. Other key themes that were noted were the importance of discussion for decision-making and appreciating the different perspectives that guided how a decision was made. It was commented that it was also rewarding to provide care to a vulnerable population.
After my time spent at the IMAGINE clinic, conceptualizing interprofessional collaboration was not too hard to imagine at all!