Friday, June 21, 2013

Scoring Procedures

One of the goals most students have for an EM rotation is to get some procedural exposure and experience.  There are some procedures that that the residents will happily give to you, like ABG's, NG tubes, suturing, and anything involving pus.

However, the procedures you are really hoping for are the ones with greater complexity, like intubation, central venous access, and lumbar puncture.  These are usually much harder to get.  You may even be in competition with an intern for these, especially in July and August.

Here are some tips that can result in more complex procedural opportunities:

  1. Be involved - Your supervisors will be much more interested in finding cool stuff for you to do if you are engaged and participating in what the team does.  
  2. Be ready - You need to have background knowledge on indications, contraindications, landmarks, and technique for any procedures you would hope to get the chance to do.  Your supervisors may use screening for this knowledge to decide if you get the chance to do the procedure.  Also, take any chance you get to practice on a simulator before trying this on a real person.  
  3. Be proactive - It does not hurt to ask for the opportunity.  The worst thing that happens is they say, "no".
  4. Be honest - Actually, the worst thing that can happen is that you claim to have experience you do not have, get found out, and then get demolished in your evaluation and letter.  Lack of experience won't keep you from some opportunities but lack of honesty will  

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