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Medicine, Car Racing, And Teamwork

There’s an article in the Oct 20, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which discusses surgical team training and teamwork in the operating room.

Most surgeons have crews or individuals in the operating rooms they prefer to work along side. Things just go smoother. We work more as a team, more as one.

Why? Personalities. Communication styles that work well together. Skills that compliment. Each person knows and does their job, not trying to do someone else’s. Each knowing that even the smallest task is important to the whole.

Ideally, we could create teams like this at all times in the operating room. In reality, its not so easy. Change in personnel happens. Team members get sick, so there is great need for crosstraining and flexibility. Personnel (including surgeons) need to be able to work with these changes.

I know currently the comparison is to racecar teams that change the tires, etc. with great efficiency or the aviation industry with their checklists. While we should learn from these industries, we must not forget that medicine is far more diverse. Surgeries are not all the same. The cars are. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

How To Energize And Engage The Doctor-Nurse Team

Some patients struggle to communicate effectively with their doctors and some doctors and nurses find it difficult to communicate and collaborate with each other.

Historically, the dynamic symbiotic relationship between doctors and nurses has been a little shaky, evidenced by the lack of engagement and respect for one another.

Hospitals are chaotic and stressful. Working in such an environment can lead to frustration and it can take a toll on the staff. Instead of a good working relationship (which may never have been fostered to its full potential from the start), doctors and nurses become a fractured team. As a result, the fractured team will not effectively communicate and patient care may suffer devastating consequences. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

For Quality Patient Care, Teamwork In Medicine Is Critical

From KevinMD’s medical blog, guest post by Toni Brayer, M.D., shares a story where a team approach in medicine is critical for quality patient care.

Dr. Brayer writes:

“Medicine is a team sport and it is only when the team is humming and everyone is working together that patients can have good outcomes. Hospital errors, medication errors, poor communication between doctors and nurses are prevented by adherence to protocols that everyone follows. It takes laser focus, measuring outcomes and a great deal of hard work to ensure everyone is pulling together in a hospital. The fact that these bedside nurses take the time to work on error reduction and patient safety is really amazing. Have you seen how hard nurses work? My hat is off to these dedicated caregivers.”

Dr. Brayer is exactly right when she writes “medicine is a team sport.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

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I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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