Category Archives: Medical Education

Blogs and Posts related to Medical Education

An introduction to Quality (for Improvement)

I recently presented at the RCPCH Clinical Tutors event on the theme of Quality Improvement. I was doing an introductory talk while colleagues Jane Runnacles and Bob Klaber provided advice for those with more experience.

I was asked by the college to place the presentation on the college tutors website but I felt the collection of pictures and minimal text wouldn’t be much use to those not at the talk therefore I have quickly done a video-cast of the presentation. I have edited some of the content and wasn’t able to embed some of the videos but have supplied links for them.

I am by no means an expert on quality improvement but have some credibility in a few projects I have been involved in. The links to the journals I mention are below:

Paediatric Trainees and the Quality Improvement Agenda: Don’t just do another audit

Delivering Quality Improvement: The need to believe it is necessary

but I also recommend you have a look at the Archives of Disease of Childhood EQUIP series which starts with a brilliant introduction to Quality Improvement in Paediatrics and Child Health

As always feel free to comment and question!

The video cast is below

and here is the original slide-set:

and the links



The Fun Index: What level justifies the use of trampolines?

A decade ago the number of trampoline injuries was described as an ‘epidemic’ by some commentators. In part this was based on the huge rise in injuries in the UK between 1990 and 1995 when numbers soared from 29600 to 58400 [1]

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 21.15.49

At the weekend my children were playing on trampolines at a country farm. I will be honest – I have mixed feelings on trampolines. Not a clinical shift goes by with there being at least one child who has had some form of injury from a trampoline (regardless of the presence of ‘safety netting’). And at least on of my colleagues agrees! One the flip side I concede they are great fun.

So how much fun do they have to provide to outweigh the trouble they cause? I was mulling this over while reading a paper on QALY’s recently and decided to have my own stab at health economics.

Lets create a theoretical ‘fun’ index.

The Fun Index

Finding good data to support further calculation is tricky. Surveys have found that 49% of  4-15 year-olds trampoline, while 23% do so regularly [2]. Working out how many trampolines there are in the UK is tricky  – in 2003 40000 were sold but I am having difficulty finding more recent figures [3]. The incidence of trampoline injuries is also difficult to quantify – US data put a figure of 160 per 100000 children in the 5-14 age group [4]. So lets do a back of the napkin calculation:

In an region with 100000 children there will be 49000 who are trampolining. Of these 160 will get injured.

The total amount of fun for those who don’t get injured (and taking a stance that most will have good fun possible) scenario is:

48840 x 0.8 = 39072 units of fun

If all children injured have little fun (again a least possible fun scenario):

160 x 0.2 = 32 units of fun.

Even if children had not much fun on their trampolines you can see the huge numbers of children who don’t get injured will always mean fun will be had!

[note though this approach doesn’t take account of multiple children on a trampoline which clearly increases the fun but also increases in the risk of injury]

I welcome challenge on this approach but only if taken in the spirit of this blog 🙂


[1] AvonSafe – Action for safety report 2011

[2] BBC – The ups and downs of garden trampolines 2012

[3] Bhangal K, Neen D, Dodds R. Incidence of trampoline related paediatric fractures Injury Prevention 2006;12:133–134.

[4] CBS News – Pediatricians warn against trampoline use, citing injury risk 2012

(Some serious but user friendly guides to health economics can be found here and  here)

The ice bucket challenge: The best solution to SVT

Not one to waste an educational opportunity I used my ‘ice-bucket’ challenge video to talk about another use of ice-buckets…


Children in Supra-ventricular Tachycardia (SVT) are not uncommon presentations to Emergency Departments. It’s worth remembering that infants won’t present complaining of palpitations and may just be brought in by parents with poor feeding, irritability or just not being ‘right’. There is a really nice blog post about SVT  from Paediatric EM Morsels but I want to focus on one form of treatment – ice-water. I have yet not to have a child present who I have been unable to revert by this technique (It will happen I am sure…).

The key mistakes people make are:

1) Not holding properly. Young infants must be completely swaddled and have their face held in the water. This looks dreadful – so a lot of pre-warning to the parents is necessary.

2) They don’t complete immerse the face. It is not a slight ‘dab’ – the whole face must be immersed

3) They panic at 3 seconds.

In my experience you need a good 5s (sometimes slightly longer). This feels like a very long time (and is worse than the swaddled hold!) so you must brief parents (and other staff!) extensively about it.  Another approach is to basically hold longer than comfortable, and then hold a bit a more, if you don’t feel like counting in your head.

My ice-bucket challenge was to demonstrate what 5s feels like. Believe me if you can revert this way it is A LOT better than adenosine….

(Would have been better if I had thought through in advance what I was going to say but the light was running out fast…!)

[I have donated to the MND association]

EM isn’t child’s play when it’s Emergency Maths

New starters to paediatric wards, emergency departments and general practices around the country are faced with a huge array of formulas and equations to navigate. Most are relatively simple and require only a basic revision of multiplication tables. However some calculations are required in a time critical manner and anyone experienced in treating children knows how easy it is to make mistakes. In resucitation situations there may be many drug doses to calculate using some medications which may not be frequently used by the person prescribing them.

Given paediatric pharmacy is a very ‘mass’ based subject prompt calculation of weight is an essential first step. The traditional approach taken is that advised by APLS courses:

Weight 0 -1 = (Age/2)+4

Weight 1 -5 = (Age x2)+8

Weight 6 -12 = (Age x3)+7

There is a great blog from Simon Carley on the introduction of three equations rather than just one and the problems this may cause. The key point being does having three forumula increase complexity, and therefore risk of error, especially given we aren’t really sure what amount of difference in weight is clinically significant?  Other mechanisms of calcuating weight do exist, the broselow tape for example, but I especially like this one via Dilshad Marikar

(2010 APLS weight estimation) – Talking to the hand from Paediatric Tools on Vimeo.

The Leicester Hospitals Emergency Department have been working for sometime on a drug calculator for use in Emergency Situations. I’m very grateful to Dr. Mike Pearce, Dr. Mark Williams and Dr. Steve Corry for their hard work on bringing this to fruition. In the spirit of ‘FOAM’ we are sharing our efforts, not because we think it is any better than other systems out there, but because we are sure improvements can be made.

Drug Calculator

It can be downloaded by clicking LRI Paeds Drug Calculator v1.4. It’s been extensively tested and has the approval of our senior paediatric pharmacist. As with all such calculators we can not accept responsibility for its accuracy or ensure its currency.

Please let us know what you think via comments, @damian_roland or @em3foamed

Leading an Emergency Department

August is changeover time for junior doctors in the United Kingdom and hospitals of all sizes are welcoming new staff into their departments. In Emergency Medicine it is especially important that new staff are given support and supervision as the hectic nature of our specialty can be challenging. One of the most daunting aspects for junior doctors who have progressed through training far enough to start adopting more senior roles is the task of leading the Emergency Department.

Challenges Ahead

Being doctor-in-charge requires a skill set far greater than clinical knowledge. You must be also be a good communicator, negotiator, and arbitrator. There is a neat little summary of the managerial skills required here by Rick Body from St.Emyln’s. In order to help some of our new registrars Prof. Tim Coats has discussed some of the things he does while doctor-in-charge which we thought we would share:

There is also a podcast 

Please do feedback any additions or suggestions!

Listen – Look – Locate: An approach to the febrile child #tipsfornewdocs

The first Wednesday of August in the UK represents an exciting time for a cohort of newly qualified junior doctors who start their medical careers. For those commencing in Paediatrics and Emergency Medicine, or starting these specialties for the first time, the prospect of managing young potentially unwell children can be daunting.

Having to assess the “febrile’ child often results in a drain of colour from even the most confident of junior doctors. This quick presentation is centred specifically around assessing the febrile child and contains a few experiential and evidence based tips.  It is not a comprehensive guide to history taking or examination – please watch #Paedstips you won’t find in books How to examine children, and look at the resources via Seeing kids is child’s play at St.Emlyn’s  for further detail.

If you need a framework to start with though – go no further than Listen, Look and Locate:


Evaluating Education

Many thanks to the SMACC team for releasing my #SMACCGold talk: Evaluating Education. The background story can be found here

The publication related to the 7I Framework can be found here


Damian Roland – Evaluating Education from Social Media and Critical Care on Vimeo.


Audio: link here