Jump to content

Learning a New Medical Skill

Recommended Posts

On Wednesday, we learn how to draw blood samples. I offer to let some classmates stick me, but each approaches my arm with a determined expression and shaky hands. It reminds me of learning to start IVs in an emergency room during EMT training. I had to start fifty of them, and, like anything else, that trail had to start somewhere.


As I was setting up for my first IV in the ER, my patient asked, “Have you done this before?” Now I’m sure that I looked out of place. I was, after all, wearing a navy-blue fire department uniform instead of scrubs like everybody else. Still, I’ll bet that my clothes weren’t the only clue to my newbie status.


“Oh yes,” I answered, mentally crossing my fingers. “Many times.” Which was true if “many” could mean two people in EMT class.


I don’t think my hands were trembling that day, but they could have been. I did notice, though, that the more time I spent in the ER, the fewer the patients who asked me that question. The experience taught me a valuable lesson. With any medical procedure, you need to know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. But there’s more to it than that; no matter how nervous you may feel inside, you still have to execute with the confidence and steadiness needed to convince your patient that he or she is in good hands.


Today both classmates miss my vein on their first attempt but go on to succeed. In the process, they build confidence and also help me pay back an old debt to Pete D’Onofrio. Pete was an instructor in EMT school and the first person on whom I successfully started an IV.


more at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1479372099/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

One of the attendings at my ED rotation (an MD) related how he had to go pull a central line on his very first day of his intern year, his very first call night. The family of the ICU patient asked him how many times he had done the procedure before. In reality, he'd just looked up the steps to do it, never having done it or seen it done before. What he said to the family was "You wouldn't believe how many times I've done this before". He got the job done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More