When I began my transition from being a nurse to becoming a medical student, I was fearful that I would become absorbed with learning and desensitized to patient safety because it was not a vibrant topic in my first semester classes. More often than not, I use my skills and experience as a nurse to help guide me through medical school simulations and patient encounters by assuring my patients that I will do everything in my power to make sure that they are safe and in good hands. While I feel as though I have been successful in putting my patient’s fears at ease, I believe the Telluride Experience will help me seamlessly incorporate my patient safety values into my practice as a medical student and future physician.
During this past week, I’ve been counting the days until the Telluride Experience begins on this coming Sunday. When I read our assigned readings, I found comfort in realizing that I wasn’t the only person who felt as though our health care systems are not set up around patient care and safety despite the confident commercials and advertising. The book “Wall of Silence” helped to illustrate all the various parts of our health care system that are broken and how they are hidden from the public. Often, I wondered who would actually read the incident reports of near misses and would there be a day wherein I wasn’t shocked at the possibility of my instrument tray being contaminated before I started a case. Even as a medical student, I notice my inability to easily relax and trust that everything is going to go as planned. Now my worries have just shifted to the medicine side of practice. Will I be able to function properly during a 28-hour call shift even though studies show that my brain won’t properly function after twenty-one hours of being awake?
Thankfully, I saved the book “Why Hospitals Should Fly” by John Nance as my second reading to hopefully build up morale. The book beautifully illustrated a wonderful example of a move in the right direction to making patient safety the most important aspect of hospital care. I was very inquisitive to fly to Denver to visit the perfect hospital he described until I realized it was unfortunately just a dream hospital at this time. Nevertheless, I’m excited to attend the Telluride Experience because I have hope that our group can help make strides towards shifting our own hospitals into a version of St. Michael’s. By attending a conference with nursing students, medical students, and healthcare advocates with the same passion for patient safety, I believe that cultivating all of our ideas and strategies with my colleagues will ensure that patient safety is always at the forefront of our practices and bring awareness to this important issue.