Teachable Moments to Prevent Medication Errors

When we consider education, in the medical arena, we often neglect to consider one of the most vital and important beneficiaries of the teaching endeavor: patients and their families. We have previously discussed this in past a Newsletter (We All Teach – February 2013).

Each patient encounter is filled with a multitude of “teachable moments.” Most of us are eager to take the opportunity to advocate of the use of helmets when we are evaluating the patient who fell while skateboarding and only suffered a forearm fracture. We are quick to express the importance of ensuring dangerous substances are adequately locked away from children while we consol the family who found their infant sitting in spilled bleach. Injury prevention comes naturally to many of us who see the consequences of those injuries, but let us not forget one area that we should all consider a teachable moment: medication administration. Medication Errors are a significant problem that a little preemptive education can help avoid. read more

Secretary’s Second Thoughts: “Good Job”

Good Job

Like many of us, I had a shift the other day that I was just happy to survive without causing any harm to anyone, including myself. At the end of the shift, I looked to my resident, who was able to weather the storm admirably, and I said, “Good job today!” I certainly meant what I said, but, upon second thought, was what I said useful? Was that “feedback” going to help reinforce the positive aspects of what my resident had done that shift? Was my resident able to pick up on the nuance in how I said “good job” to glean from it that the medical decision making was superior and that the patients all had been kept updated regularly? Was my resident able to extract from the “good job” phrase that, while the care of patients was fantastic, the flow could have been improved if the expected course of several patients had been anticipated earlier and more timely admissions made? I would like to think that all of that was conveyed and understood in my efficient and intuitive announcement of “good job.” Unfortunately, I know that it was not. I would also like to say that this is an aberration, and that I normally give well formatted feedback, but it is not. read more

Pediatric Submersion Injuries

Department of Emergency Medicine
Carolinas Medical Center

Reproduced from Pedemmorsels.com, with permission
Working in the Emergency Department places us in a unique position of allowing our words to have a significant impact with our patients and their families. While this time of year brings submersion injuries to the front of our minds, let us make sure we bring it to the conscious level of our patients as well. A few minutes spent on injury prevention in your ED will hopefully help avoid a preventable tragedy this summer! read more

Point-Counterpoint: Cervical Spine Imaging in Children

Emily MacNeill, MD
Chair-Elect and Co-Editor, Newsletter
Carolinas HealthCare System
Charlotte, NC

Marjorie Lee White, MD, MPPM, MA
Section Secretary and Co-Editor, Newsletter
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
Birmingham, AB

Authors’ note: This article is intended to spark thought and discussion on a controversial topic. It is not intended to change guidelines. Note that the available evidence on this topic, despite great work, is not definitive.

Point: Ordering plain films of the cervical spine
Marjorie Lee White read more