How Do I Know Which Cases To Discuss With My Attending In The Morning?
You’ve made it through a typical night of call and the attending for the day is about to arrive. Your mind begins to meltdown from the exhaustion of it all. And, there are too many cases to discuss with your morning radiologist. It’s just going to take too long.
Moreover, you don’t want to waste your attending’s time with the obvious. On the other hand, you are not sure about what you are going to have missed during your shift. And, you want to make sure that you address all the critical issues. So, how do you go about deciding which cases to discuss with your morning attending? And what can you ignore? To increase your efficiency, let’s go over some of the basic guidelines.
All Cases That Can Significantly Change Patient Medical Management
Remember, in the end, every case that you sign off at nighttime, also will have your attending’s name on it too. By default, therefore, you should show every situation to your attending that will significantly change medical management. Now, what exactly does that mean? If your patient has gone to surgery based on your findings for any reason, that would certainly qualify. Or, if the patient needs to stay overnight because of your call, that would be eligible too.
In essence, I would have a low threshold for what constitutes a change in patient management. And, if it meets that criteria, well then, you must show it!
It’s those cases that you hem and haw over. These are the best learning tools. So, make the most of them. Even it’s not the most clinically significant case; I would highly recommend that you try to discuss it with your morning attending. It’s one way that you may never discover that finding to be equivocal again. Think about all that time over your career that you will waste that you could have figured out immediately by just asking your attendings in the morning. Why wouldn’t you bother to do that?
Discrepant Reports With The Nighthawk
If you want to get burned, the best way to do it: Don’t go over discrepant nighthawk reports with your attending. I have been on the receiving end of one or two of these unmitigated disasters. And, the resident could have avoided it by simply telling me about it.
Moreover, even if the resident gets it right, and the nighthawk misses the case, it can still become a problem. Medically, the emergency physician can administer the wrong medication based on the nighthawk read. Or even potentially worse, she may not administer treatment based on his final report. Therefore, please let your attending know about these cases, especially if you made the critical finding, and the nighthawk reader missed the obvious!
Discrepant Reports With The Emergency Physician
Just as often as nighthawk discrepancies, if you forget to go over those cases where your opinion differs from the ED physician, you are potentially asking for trouble. Immediately, these cases should be some of the first that you must discuss in the morning. In addition to increasing the work burden on your morning reader, your attending will likely have to make a whole bunch of unnecessary phone calls if he doesn’t know that there was a discrepancy. Your goal should be to reduce the amount of work your attending needs to complete, not increase it!
Any Other Cases With Questions
Sometimes, cases bring up fascinating points or other medical management questions. And, what better time to ask questions to reinforce what you have learned at nighttime? After residency, you will not have these opportune moments again. So, take advantage of making inquiries with experts while you can!
Whew, That’s A Lot Of Cases To Discuss!
Well, not necessarily. It sounds like a lot more than it is. Often, these cases are the minority of what you will experience at nighttime. And, fortunately, most nights, you will encounter many normals and garden variety cases that don’t need to take up a lot of your time in the morning. However, regardless of the number of cases, it always pays to go over those cases that need extra attention and care, whether it’s for medical management issues, equivocal findings, discrepancies, or simple questions. It’s a fantastic tool for learning, and more critically, a moral duty for excellent patient care!