What I learnt this week: A parents’ view of the world may also be knee high #WILTW

This is the 65th #WILTW

This week was the first complete Monday to Friday for many new doctors (either to the profession or to a new hospital) in the NHS. Fortunately this year there hasn’t been quite the diatribe in the media about reported increased death rates in August, and I hope this signals the start of (some) news corporations starting to understand the differences between forms of statistics. The original research demonstrated a difference of only 45 patients out of almost 300,000 records over nine years between July and August. Statistical analysis would indicate this increase is significant but it’s just impossible to say whether this is due to the new-starters themselves. There is no reason to say it is not also explained by the fact that relatively more staff are likely to be on holiday during that month or that there aren’t differences between April and May for instance (which wasn’t examined).

Regardless all hospitals recognise that their new staff need support and we have worked particular hard to ensure our most junior doctors starting in the Paediatric Emergency Department are as prepared as possible. One of the things we’ve done is produce a short video demonstrating a toddler’s view of their experience.

This is more than a simple social media gimmick. You rarely see those who are used to working with children standing in a cubicle  while examining patients. Also although guidance has recently changed which will hopefully reduce the amount of children being brought in with neck collars and on spinal boards the below is not a friendly view for a five year old:

What became apparent to me this week was how important it is to appreciate the parents’, as well as the child’s, view. The Emergency Department may also be a scary place to them. One in which they are entrusting the care of their loved ones to people they have never met. However friendly you may came across as a health care professional there is an implicit hierarchy or authority gradient which may need to be addressed. Your body language is just as important to an adult as to a child. When their child is at their most vulnerable a parent or carer will see the world through their eyes. How will you look to them?

What have you learnt this week? #WILTW

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