Extraordinary

 

As I struggle to come down from the night shift  high or which is also an energy depleted low – I stumbled across this article which was soothing. It’s a great read that captures the essence of what makes working in this environment special…

Our Front Door

emergency_room

As I sit and reflect on my life, I find myself humbled. Humbled by the business that takes place all around me, the real fight for life and struggle against death, the palpable emotions of situations I often find myself in, and the incredible strength of those whom I work alongside. It’s the stuff movies are made of and it is truly amazing to watch.

Working in an Emergency Department creates such an interesting outlook on life. One that knows and understands all to well the fragility of every single breath and the vital importance of embracing all aspects of living, even the scary ones. We are the truest definition of realism. Would I like to wrap my kids in bubble wrap and never let them out? Yes. Do I? No. Instead they can be found jumping on the bed, because let’s face it, it’s awesome. Riding their bikes outside…

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#smaccGOLD reflections

A few days ago I attended the 2nd annual SMACC (Social Media and Critical Care conference) conference more fondly referred to as “smaccGOLD” owing to it’s beachside venue location in the Goldcoast, Australia (or was it due to it’s resemblance to the hit album from the 90’s ABBA GOLD??).

Despite having 45 mind maps of notes, over 200 audio and video recordings, and 95 tweets later, I am hard pressed to write a post that encapsulates this monumental professional practice-changing educational event in all it’s glory, but as an alternative, I will attempt to share a few early reflections in the following paragraphs.

Perhaps, if smaccGOLD were a movie, its flyer would read something like this:-

“Innovation, education and creativity at the cutting edge and beyond the confines of convention. This conference was delivered passionate patient focused, idea-nurturing visionaries”

I am being quite truthful in saying that conference was, to date, the most dynamic and inspiring medical education and critical care conference that I’ve attended in my 16 years after finishing medical school (includes the last 7 years where I regularly attended local and international medical conferences during my PhD candidacy that took me across Asia, Australasia and North America).

Vision

The conference provided vision for seeing beyond the current challenge facing the health care and education in critical in an increasingly pressured health system. The visionaries who were seen in well established blogging giants like Cliff Reid, Scott Weingart, Chris Nickson, Minh Le Cong, and Rob Rogers, to name a few, and in Educational innovators such as Victoria Brazil and Simon Carly (see the smacc website for the full line up as there were too  many to mention). However, they were also widely present amongst the 1000 plus body of delegates whose ideas were richly intertwined (and archived) through the use of web-based technologies such as “twitter”.

Compassion focused, patient-centred medicine

Perhaps what warmed my heart the most in this conference was the feeling of being immersed amongst open-minded health professionals who care about their patients and who were not afraid to show this through the bare vulnerability of the stage.

There were so many talks, tweets, and casual discussions at the conference relating to a common passion that was relentlessly perusing the improvement of practice to address both challenges in current medical practice, such as improving communication with patients.

A good example of the parallel themes of the conference that communication complex areas of critical care, such as end of life care, and palliative care. One of the most memorable session for me was the morning plenary day 2 which presented case based discussion of end of life care amongst an expert panel which included intensive care physicians, emergency physicians, trainees, palliative care physicians and social workers.

One of the most touching talks was that from Tamara Hills, and nurse who showed us the importance of crisis resource management through her own personal story presented in a video format.

Fun and Games

Finally despite the heavy dose of clinical brain food dished out at this conference, there was some serious fun to be had through the simulation sessions (including Sono Wars, and Sim Wars) the welcome drinks, Gala dinner, and FOAMeoke (karaoke for #FOAM enthusiasts)

Practice Changing?

The ultimate test of any education session is the answer to the question “will my practice have changed as a result of this education?” and for me the answer is a definite “Yes” which I will describe in the posts to follow.

Have a look at a sample of tweets (taken from the hashtag #smaccGOLD – which is a gateway to free open access meducation, otherwise known as FOAMed), and be the judge yourself?

Please post and share your experiences  – after all, the power of knowledge translation perhaps lies in the discussion and subsequent action taken after the knowledge has been consumed…

Adios Amigos 🙂

1. full house 2-1. trauma simulation 2-2. Burr hole 2-3. USS2 3-1. Smacc Gold location 3. roadkill recepies 4-1. Medical student innovation - inolving the stakeholders 4-2. medical education 4-3. conversations on death and dying 4-4. Death and dying 4-5. tamara hills 5-1. indigenous issues  6. 25M impressions