Sunday, May 22, 2011

Surgical Deficiency

It has recently been brought to my attention that certain skills that many surgeons consider absolutely vital to success are lacking from my repertoire. Elective courses in medical school and residency equipped many surgeons with certain knowledge and abilities that I am completely lacking. My sense of fair play and the need for complete disclosure mandates that I make this report. Listed here are those courses I failed to take during my surgical training, vital lessons that may make me wholly inadequate to practice surgery.

Instrument Throwing 101 and 102

A two semester course that instructs the surgical resident in the proper technique for throwing an instrument off the operative field. The first semester covers blunt instruments, such as clamps and forceps, while the second part instructs on the proper technique for hurling sharp instruments, scalpels, needles and scissors. Proficiency in the short Mayo toss, the medium range Anesthesia throw and the long range Nurse hurl is expected by the completion. Final exam is judged on accuracy of the throw, amount of disorder created and physical and emotional damage inflicted. Measurement of stress is also graded.

Tantrums 100

A one semester course offered as part of the medical school curriculum, tantrums will provide the student an introduction to those situations where an outburst is considered appropriate and necessary; differing tantrum techniques and proper targets. An extensive video collection, demonstrating everything from the red faced huff to the hot air tempest, is required viewing. Final exam will be part oral, grading quantity and quality of the student’s angry fit and part practical, measuring the negative impact on a recipient subject: nurse, technician patient, family member or hospital administrator.

Condescension 330

This is an upper level course which has Tantrums 100 as a prerequisite. Advanced techniques of sarcasm, insulting and belittling are taught. Extra credit work in racial, gender and sexual preference slurring is available. Final exam is written, true false and multiple choice.

Physical Assault 600

A graduate level course open only to those who have successfully completed all the above courses. Appropriate technique for pushing, bruising and surreptitious sexual harassment are taught by experts in each area. The first half of the course is didactic classroom work, while the second half includes field training in the operating room, ICU and patient ward. Passing this course will be at the discretion of the instructing faculty, but any arrests, indictments or lawsuits will be grounds for summary failure.

Far too often stories of such inappropriate behavior surface. Any such behavior detracts from patient care and leads to an atmosphere of tension in the operating room and other patient care areas. Everyone who works in the healthcare arena has a shared goal of taking the best possible care of the sick and injured patients that come under our care. There is no place for inappropriate actions and behavior. I apologize for my lack of skill in these areas.