Blog | Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bad TV makes for worse medical education

So many medical students and residents at the University of Alberta Hospital were using the wrong technique to insert breathing tubes that educators surveyed them about it. Many admitted they learned how to intubate from the doctors and nurses on TV, mostly from the program ER.

The educators watched a full season of ER and found, of the 22 intubations seen on screen, the head positioning was always wrong. The article is still in press at the journal Resuscitation, but a brief is available online.

With ER going off the air soon, the students will have to go back to the old way of learning that was cited by the researchers--hear a lecture, practice on a live patient with little or no supervision and then teach others.

Some other lessons med students learn from ER:
-Doctors on TV order up a lot of crike trays (probably from intubating incorrectly so often)
-Before working on any patient, pull your hair back into a ponytail.
-The cure for anything is a dose of epi--STAT!
-Ativan for a seizing patient. Unsure how much.
-It's not that your love life isn't interesting, but a patient is coding on the table.
-Patients often leave AMA. Attendings often leave in a huff.