Improving medical students

TV’s Interference in Medical Education

Posted by medliorator on April 5, 2009

Tom Blackwell:

Intubation is the insertion of a tube down the windpipe, usually so a patient can be hooked up to a mechanical ventilator when they are unable to breathe properly on their own.

The first step is to position the head properly so the tube can be quickly and easily installed.

Dr. Brindley said he and his colleague, Dr. Craig Needham, noticed that many students and residents – medical-school graduates training in specialities such as anesthesia, surgery and emergency care – positioned the head incorrectly.

To find out where the faulty knowledge was coming from, the physicians surveyed 80 students and residents. Many said they learned through “trial and error,” but a large proportion indicated they had picked up tips from white-coated TV characters.

ER was the program most commonly cited by the students, so Drs. Brindley and Needham analyzed a season of the show. Some aspect of the head positioning was wrong in all 22 intubations that could be fully viewed on screen, their paper says.

Young doctors learn bad habits from TV medical dramas [National Post]

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