First-year clinical students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis are offered a unique opportunity to experience comprehensive teamwork in both the classroom and practice as part of the unique SPLICE program (System-transforming, Patient-centered, Longitudinal, Interprofessional, Community-based Education). Through SPLICE, physician assistant (P.A.) and family nurse practitioner (FNP) students from the School of Nursing join School of Medicine students and medical and pharmacy residents, along with faculty and clinical staff from both schools in innovative, interprofessional education and practice.  The program plans to add Master’s Entry Program in Nursing students into experiential learning activities in the future.

The program targets students who want to work in primary care, especially with underserved populations. SPLICE learners are exposed to community-based health professionals concerned with the social determinants of health and dedicated to health equity. Students participate in a variety of clinical activities including observing how a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or primary care clinic works, the challenges health professionals and patients face, and gain an understanding of how this can impact vulnerable populations. Additionally, SPLICE simulations bring students and residents from different health disciplines together in shared experiential learning and allows them to gain knowledge of their different professions as they practice together.

SPLICE is an enhanced learning opportunity that was launched to develop, test and disseminate a community-based, primary care delivery model to advance the Institute of Medicine's Quadruple Aim: improved quality of care, lower cost of care, improved patient experience and improved clinician and staff experience.

Interprofessional practice and education

Nursing, P.A. and medical students practice team-based care in simulations.
SPLICE brings together students from multiple health professions, including physician assistant, nursing, family nurse practitioner and medical students, as well as medical and pharmacy residents, to learn and practice together.

SPLICE offers selected students interprofessional-focused clinical experiences and simulations as well web-based and in-person training. The program also provides students hands-on primary care clinical experience at a FQHC and plans to expand into some of the ambulatory clinics at UC Davis Health. During their rotations, students observe clinical staff and gain patient exposure to practice skills learned in the classroom and through the SPLICE curriculum with preceptors who are trained to engage the learners in a team-based model of care.

They work closely with other health professionals, allowing them to experience an interprofessional team and rotate through different specialties including pediatrics, family practice and refugee health. Some students also have opportunities to work in the UC Davis Health Emergency Department and with pharmacists in chronic disease and medication management activities. Exposure to interprofessional teams in these settings allows students to envision how they can work with other health professionals to provide patient-centered health care rather than working in silos.

In addition to engaging in clinical experiences, students also explore a variety of topics through short video presentations, narrated slide shows, as well as in-person trainings and simulations. The simulations are designed to provide learners with the opportunity to practice interprofessional interactions in scenarios commonly encountered in primary care.

How to apply

First-year P.A. and FNP students apply to participate in either of two SPLICE tracks during the first-year immersion experience in June.  Selected students participate in a wide range of interprofessional experiences. 

Track A: Interprofessional educational experiences

  • Participation in focused educational activities related to interprofessional competencies, team-based care, quality improvement and population health
  • Learning through case-based simulation experiences
  • Access to online education modules to complement the interprofessional activities

Track B:  Track A plus clinical rotations

  • Clinical rotations at the Sacramento County Health Clinic, a FQHC in Oak Park or in select UC Davis Health clinics
  • Observation and hands-on participation in adult and pediatric primary care, emergency department and pharmacy clinic activities*
  • Familiarization with the roles, flow and staffing of an FQHC and ambulatory clinic environments

*Availability depends on experience, opportunity and quarterly learning objectives

Interprofessional educational experiences and clinical rotations are scheduled on days when classes are not in session. Clinical rotations and education experiences may be used to meet required clinical hours for the 410 Clinical Skills series.

Interested? Please email HS-SPLICE@ucdavis.edu for questions or to learn more about the application and selection process.

What students say about SPLICE

“SPLICE has been such a valuable supplement to my clinical education. It provided a select few of us to engage in real clinical experiences outside of the classroom and student-run clinics, building our patient-provider skills and overall confidence before entering into rotations. I loved the exposure to different populations working in the refugee clinic and pediatrics clinic… the opportunity to shadow and see patients on my own helped tremendously in preparing me for OSCEs (objective-structed clinical examination), standardized patient encounters and best of all, future practice as a clinician.”

— P.A. student, Class of 2020

“My understanding of primary care strengthened over the past few months and I believe I now understand the trust that needs to be in place to build rapport with patients.”

— P.A. student, Class of 2020

“My most important take away from the clinical rotation at the clinic was teamwork. From medical assistant to physician, everybody worked as a team to provide the best care possible to the patients. …I enjoyed working with different team members and learned a lot about different roles at this clinic. Looking forward for my next rotation.”

— FNP student, Class of 2020

“What I really enjoyed the most about the clinical rotation was the population — the experience was different than what I got at other rotations, like the hospital and student-run clinic.  The preceptor was really good, always wanting to teach.”

— P.A. student, Class of 2020