Wet Read: Training for weird places and numbers games

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“The world is still a weird place, despite my efforts to make clear and perfect sense of it.”

—Hunter S. Thompson

HST was quite correct on that one. And the man never worked in a hospital. If he had, he would have used some more superlatives in that phrase—a very weird place. I’ve always known this; I work in a hospital and have essentially done so for my entire adult life.

However, something has recently solidified my belief, and I’m betting that most of you have similar feelings about the same topic: Hospital professional training. and updates.

As in fire training. Infection training. Walking-up-steps training. I’ll bet you have a few more of your own. I could list hundreds.

Okay, none of us wants to think about fires. Not me. They should be stopped and put out, and not be a problem. But, after you’ve told me about whatever I need to do in the case of a fire, I understand. And, since the time of Smokey the Bear, we always do the same thing. So, my training this year—and last year, and the year before that, ad infinitum—has been exactly the same.

But, I’ll “learn it again.” Or “lose my hospital privileges.” Sometimes, I just want to grab one of those extinguishers and use it. On anything. And, likely next year, too.

Infections? Bad. No one wants one. I try to avoid them. I think we all do. And, I need to learn more about them, too, I guess. Did you know that some infections are airborne, and some are transmitted by blood? Yeah? Me, too. Did you know those red bags are for infectious waste? Yeah? Me, too.

But, sit down at the PC and spend another two hours learning about it. Because, like you, I have nothing but time.

The training technique is about the same everywhere, I understand. You can guess as many times as you need, but please, eventually, pick the right answer because you have to in order to move to the next question. This fosters an attitude of “just click it, stupid.” You quickly realize that the reason to pick the right answer is that the thing ends faster that way.

I have tried to make sense of this. I have finally come to the realization that there is an office in the hospital that needs “metrics.” They need numbers of physicians trained. And questions answered, and more numbers to report to someone.

It is a weird place. The entire world is, but particularly the hospital.


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Wet Read: Training for weird places and numbers games.  Appl Radiol. 

By C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR| August 05, 2014

About the Author

C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR

C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR

Dr. Phillips is a Professor of Radiology, Director of Head and Neck Imaging, at Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. He is a member of the Applied Radiology Editorial Advisory Board.

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