The July phenomenon is something that is discussed every year in teaching hospitals in the United States. With the calendar turning to July 1, new surgical and medical resident physicians are beginning their first rotation where they are in charge of the care for their patients. Of course, there is oversight, from senior residents and attending physicians. Nevertheless, the anxiety, excitement, and fear, all at the same time is felt by the new interns and all members of the teaching hospital’s health care team in the first months of the summer.
While this July is no different than any other July over the past several decades with regard to the medical/surgical interns, there are ways to reduce the intern anxiety and enhance the medical teaching that occurs among teaching hospitals and universities around the nation.
While on rounds, attending physicians will often reference evidence-based studies from which they are basing their diagnostic workup and treatment plans. Many interns and other residents may be unaware of such studies as well as how a patient’s specific history, physical, and laboratory findings help to dictate the best care for them.
Incorporating medical algorithms into teaching rounds as well as during hospital admissions, is a great way to enhance the learning of interns, residents, and medical students:
With the ongoing recall of many frozen food brands because of concerns for Listeria, emergency rooms and hospital wards are frequently encountering patients who need to be tested for Listeriosis using the Clinical Features of Listeriosis in Nonpregnant Adult.
Rounding on the surgical floor, orthopedic residents and medical students can review the Model of 30-Day Readmission Following Total Knee or Hip Arthroplasty prior to discharging a patient post-operatively. This not only improves the education of the residents and medical students, but also improves patient safety and saves the healthcare system thousands of dollars.
Pediatric residents working shifts in the emergency room are exposed to countless encounters for the evaluation of head injury. A complete history and physical exam combined with the criteria for performing a CT scan in a child after head trauma reduces unnecessary radiation exposure for the child. This also reinforces for the student or resident that a proper history and physical combined with evidence-based protocols are most often the best way to approach a personalized diagnostic work-up or treatment plan.
Additionally, medical algorithm use during a physician’s workday does not have to be entirely for doctor-to-doctor teaching purposes. Doctors can incorporate algorithms into their communication with patients to improve the patient-physician relationship.
By combining clinical decision-making, medical knowledge, and clinical decision support tools, we can truly provide the best care for patients.