Learning modules for nursing and medicine

Role play for critical scenarios: a chance for nursing and medical students to train in interprofessional collaboration through joint learning modules.

Careum Education Management, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zurich and the Careum Training Centre have collaborated to develop two modules to be taken by interprofessional specialist groups. The two learning units give nursing and medical students a chance to prepare for the interprofessional reality of their day-to-day working life while they are still being trained. The students pick up specialist knowledge and undergo skills training together. Feedback from tutors and student observers enables them to reflect on and enhance their experiences of interprofessional collaboration. Surveys regarding the learning settings indicate these options are really popular with nursing and medical students and can help raise awareness of interprofessional collaboration.

Acting and communicating together in emergency situations

The interprofessional module known as “Emergency Situations – Interventions” has been run every year since 2007. The aim is for nursing and medical students to train together, in simulated emergency situations, in interprofessional action and communication. In mixed groups, the students have to assess and judge emergency situations and decide what actions to take. Following the series of exercises, there is a chance to reflect on roles and duties and also communication.

Sharing bad news at the bedside

How do you tell a sick patient they only have a few days to live? The module known as “Interprofessional Communication and Ethics – Complex Conversations Situations with Patients” is a chance for nursing and medical students to practise in the form of bedside role play how they might cope with such a difficult task. They prepare in teams and then perform at the patient's bedside. Actors play the role of patients. Following the conversation, the team reflects upon everything that has happened along with teaching staff from both groups of professionals. Everyone benefits when people learn with, from and about each other. Patients feel confident about and able to participate in a tried-and-tested exchange, while students have a chance to develop, while still training, the kinds of interprofessional skills they will need later.

This learning setting has sparked considerable interest among professionals at both a national and international level. At the Standardized Patients and Simulation in Health Care (SPSIM) Conference, the learning setting was discussed in an international context with the help of a poster-based presentation. At the Swiss Congress for Health Professions (SCHP) 2014, the module was a topic of the workshop entitled “Training in Nursing and Medicine: an Interprofessional Approach to Skills Training”.

Honored with Awards

The two modules “Interprofessional Communication and Ethics – Complex Conversations Situations with Patients” and “Emergency Situations – Interventions” received a great deal of attention at the 2nd Symposium on Interprofessionality in healthcare in 2017 as well. They have each won an award for «Interprofessionality» by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMW).


Schroeder, G. (2018). Unterschiedliche Berufsgruppen – viele Perspektiven – ein Ziel. Referat. Impulsveranstaltung «Interprofessionelle Zusammenarbeit in der
Gesundheitsversorgung» der Kantone Nidwalden und Obwalden. Obwalden, 25.01.2018. PDF

Schroeder, G. (2014). Ausbildung in Pflege und Medizin: Skills interprofessionell trainieren. Referat. Swiss Congress for Health Professions. Bern, 11.3.2014. PDF

Schroeder, G. (2010). Professionalisierung durch interprofessionelle Bildung?! Referat. SBK Kongress 2010. Luzern. PDF


Schroeder, G. (2015). «Voneinander, miteinander und übereinander lernen»: Chancen und Risiken der Interprofesionalität aus der Sicht von Careum. Synapse, (2), 12. PDF

Bastami, S., Krones, T., Schroeder, G., Schirlo, C., Schäfer, C., Aeberhard, R., & Biller-Adorno, N. (2012). Interprofessionelle Kommunikationsprozesse – schwierige Gesprächssituationen mit Patientinnen und Patienten. Ethik in der Medizin, 24, Issue 3, 241-244. doi: 10.1007/s00481-011-0177-1

Schroeder, G. (2010). Interprofessionalität in der Umsetzung. PrInterNet, 12(1), 18-23. PDF