The insanity of calculations in emergency situations

The insanity of calculations at the point of care

From the clinician’s perspective this statement might feel offensive. We train for years to build confidence in our skills in order to exceed the expectations of our patients by delivering safe, effective care. Most medical providers are inspired to make a difference and always work hard at being vigilant. Dosing calculations and medication administration is serious business and all practitioners are expected to deliver flawlessly. After all, the mainstay of medicine is “primum non nocere,” first do no harm. 

Now, let’s look at this from the customer’s perspective. Patients place their trust in the providers and their expectation is nothing short of excellence. When it comes to medication administration, the patient’s only expectation is that you give them the right dose of the correct medication, at the appropriate time, in the manner it should be delivered, period. They expect perfection and so would you. 

Set aside for a moment everything you have been trained to do and consider from a common sense approach: What is the most efficient and safe manner to meet the customer’s expectations? A clinician performing multiple math calculations and attempting to mentally recall the information they need to accomplish this task? Or, the clinician simply looking at a chart designed to confirm their knowledge base with the exact answers and information they need?

The answer is obvious if it is you or your family member. As a matter of fact, I would suggest that these types of solutions are neither offensive nor degrading to a clinician’s intelligence or competence. Tools are simply designed to make the provider more effective. A man can be trained to drive a nail with his bare hand but why not use a hammer? Medicine continues to evolve; the volume of information to absorb and the understanding of how to appropriately apply it is staggering. Put any human in the right circumstances and errors are inevitable. Why not set yourself up for success by using the best tools available? 

It’s often said that the definition of insanity is continuing to do things the same way but expecting different results. Stop the insanity! The best clinicians are willing to break the paradigms, think outside the box and set themselves up for success.

Michael Wallace, Founder