Mar 30, 2009

CEN Review Questions 3-30-09

(ANSWERS POSTED 4/3/09 - Scroll to bottom of this article for link)

Sorry for the delay folks!
Here's some more CEN Exam Review Questions for practice/review...

Here's some sample CEN like review questions. Try to answer them and write out a rationale. Try to justify why the answer you choose is correct and why the others are wrong.....

Category: Orthopedic/Trauma
(1) Your patient is complaining of a painful right hand. She states it got hit one day ago, and now the hand is painful and swollen. On exam, the hand and fingers are swollen and there is a wound with dried blood over the third knuckle. You anticipate an order to:

A) Perform an iodine scrub to the finger
B) Administer oral antibiotics
C) Obtain an x-ray
D) Soak in cool saline

Category: Environmental
(2) A geriatric man arrives by EMS with reports of marked lethargy. The pt has been having a steady decline for approx 4 months. The pt appears lethargic but responsive with slow speech. Skin is pale, cool and dry. Rectal temperature is 94°F, pulse 52, resp 16, BP = 82/40. IV access is accomplished. Which is the most appropriate method for gradual re-warming of this patient?

A) Heated bladder irrigation via urinary catheter
B) Passive rewarming with warm blankets
C) Warmed IV fluids
D) Peritoneal lavage with warmed fluids

Category: Psychological
(3) A female is brought by her spouse for evaluation after she made several self-inflicted lacerations on her forearm which appear to be superficial. The spouse states that the pt has been very depressed and withdrawn for over a month since the death of their only child. The spouse also indicates the patient has taken to drinking heavily and not sleeping. What is the priority intervention for this patient:

A) Ask her if she has a plan to harm herself.
B) Bandage her wrists
C) Ask her what her usual coping mechanisms have been in the past
D) Take her to the registrar so you can get a chart started

Category: Professional/Legal Issues
(4) A 52-year-old man with a subarachnoid hemorrhage is identified as a potential organ donor. The patient’s family consists of his estranged wife, geriatric parents, a 20-year-old daughter, and 40-year-old sister. Who is the legal next of kin that can give permission?

A) His daughter
B) His sister
C) His parents
D) His wife

Category: Special Populations/Pediatrics
(5) A 4-month-old female comes in with: low-grade fever, rhinorrhea, tachypnea, and poor feeding. You suspect which of the following?

A) Epiglottitis
B) Bronchiolitis
C) Croup
D) Pneumonia

I Got My EM training during 'Prime Time'....

In the article "Young Doctors Learn Bad Habits From TV Medical Dramas", in the NATIONAL POST, (Mar 23, 2009) author Tom Blackwell talks about how more and more young physicians are becoming a product of the entertainment industry rather than the medical education establishment.The original article published in the "Journal of Resuscitation" looked at data gathered by a survey in which evaluation of young MDs (YMD) ability to perform endotracheal intubation (ETI) was influenced by television medical dramas.

When YMDs were asked where they "learned" their skills (when they were noted to have performed them incorrectly) some responded by indicating that they saw it "on TV". Further information showed that the most often cited TV medical drama for this was NBC TV's "ER".

Researchers then backtracked to investigate this more and find out just how mis-leading some TV medical dramas are.

The researchers (Dr Brindley and Needham) looked at an entire season of ER episodes. They specifically looked at scenes depicting ETI; and more specifically, ones where they could clearly see the entire procedure to critique it.

Their research showed that 22 observed ETIs that met criteria, had at least one step done incorrectly.
There were 22 ETIs that met criteria, I can on
ly assume that some did not; but they do not say how many were excluded. A typical North American TV "season" averages from 22-26 episodes. This means that on the average, nearly one person received ETI each episode! Unfortunately, without data from the other seasons of ER, it's hard to compare if this particular season had more or less ETIs than their "season-average" (???)
The researchers went on to explain that "traditionally" topics such as ETI are taught in a lecture-classroom setting first, and then reinforced in the clinical (IE: hands on) setting. So when those YMDs attributed their performance failures, it is interesting to note that they recalled their more influential experience watching ETI to have come from the TV medical dramas.

So why the disparity? Why did some of the YMDs remember their ETI "training" more from the TV rather than their didactic and practical instruction? Is there something different the establishment needs to do to drive home the education and experience? Is there something to be learned from TV medical dramas?

When we look at what is "entertainment" things like: story line, special effects, continuity, contemporary issues, hi-profile actors/actresses and plot intrigue factor into play. If you look at NBC TV's successful ER drama, it is no wonder that it was successful. This was an adrenaline pumping, fast paced, on the seat of your pants show. ER was one of the innovators in using the first-person-continuous-scene filming style. This greatly enhanced the "realism" of the show. As well ER frequently dealt with issues of such impact and significance as: resuscitation, trauma, life-death -- it lends itself easily to a hi-powered drama.

All these factors that go into making ER a great show (as well as a much recognized and rewarded show), make it also form more of an impression on the viewer. You remember, more...You contemplate it more... You analyze and think about it more.

Now back to our traditional model of education; that dry, stuffy, formal lecture hall or classroom. Do you really think the classroom can lend itself to as much as an entertaining-learning experience as prime time TV?

Probably not.

Even if we step forward out of the lecture hall and into the clinica
l arena, it still fails to compare. The "real world" business of treating patients and learning by hands-on, does not compare to the pulse-pounding world of shows like ER. Although one would argue that once you apply learning to the psycho motor (IE: hands on) phase in the clinical setting, you should get higher reinforcement and retention - but apparently not.

I'm guessing that prime time medical dramas like ER, are just hard acts to follow when it comes to teaching and learning.

In the end, I think the lesson we can learn here is to look at what we (as educators) can do to make our teaching and our student's respective learning experiences more "high powered", engaging and compelling.

With our currently expanding use of life-like simulators, skills labs and technical advances - eventually we will reach a cross-roads where life meets technology. At that point we can start to see how a new "technical-altered-reality" would evolve.

I think there is something that we can take from all this, and see the future of education and how we can apply it to the learner's skill sets.

NEXT UP: Now I'm going to pick a season of ER and do my OWN study - I want to look at of all the ACLS scenarios, how they adhered to the AHA guidelines of the day!!!

"KMG-365, Clear..."

Mar 21, 2009

CCC Class Wake Med - Day 1 Report

What a day!
Just finished day 1 of a 2 day CFRN/FP-C course here in Raleigh NC at Wake Med. This was a 2-day certification review course produced by Critical Care Concepts and Rick Patterson. I was assisting Rick in teaching for his company during this class.

Their conference facility was THE BOMB. Rick even co
mpared it to some conference hall. He said "man this is like JEMS" the EMS today national conference. Wake Med (WM) has this AWESOME conference center across from the main hospital. It's got several multi-size rooms with sweet A/V setups in each. Nice central lobby, reception areas and a juice/soda/coffe bar (self serve)'s freakin sweet! Just being in such a nice place, made us feel like some special guest speakers and such!

Class went pretty well on day 1. We ran long and didn't cover as much as we wanted. We hit most of the big topics, but probably ran a little long winded for most of the audience.

After course introductions and "settng the stage". We kicked it off with me doing the cardio lecture. This cardio lecture is always a tiring one. The one we do for Rick's classes is a bit longer (about 80-90 minutes) than
the stand alone one I do for my "CEN-only" classes. I think it's a good starting point however, and it DOES lend itself to some minor alterations depending on class prior expeience and knowledge level. Today's version we cut a bit short due to time and we dropped off the 15 or so, ACLS review slides. Instead of slides we closed out the ACLS with a 20 minute "core" ACLS review and Rick went impromptu as he finished the cardiovascular by hitting on the main ACLS bullet points. And, as always, reminded the students that if they hadn't attended an ACLS provider class within the last 6-8 months, that it's probably a good idea to hit that before taking the cert exams (CEN, CFRN, FP-C).

Then we jumped over to the flight portion of the class. Rick jumped right in and ran through the flight principles and concepts (gas laws, stressors of flight etc)..and as always, while I was sitting back watching/listening - I once again was quite engaged when Rick "does his thing"! Shortly later, we went to aircrew safety, survival and regulation to complete most of the dedicated flight content. And once again, Rick gets right into his "zone" and runs through this, lecturing effectively while inserting his anecdotes and war-stories as appropriate. Pretty cool this time working through the survival/shelter part using the big graphics on the LARGE screen; cool to see the "big picture".

Due to time concerns we carried the neuro lecture on into and through lunch this time. I was giving this one and probably where we started to see the early signs of the diverse audience starting to loose their learning thread. You start to see it when we start talking about some more "general" neuro stuff like Multiple Sclerosis or Lyme disease -- the people there for flight certifications are probably starting to think like "why do I need to know this"... So it's always a challenge to try to deliver it and at least make some relevancy to the entire audience.
Interesting, at the beginning of the neuro lecture we review the cranial nerves (Nursing 101 right?)....well when I threw up the "Old Olympus Towering Tops" slide, I got so many blank stares...? Kind of made me stop and think. However as this was not a "teaching class" but rather a "review class" - I just referenced it and pointed out that some people may want to spend some time reviewing this on their own before sitting for their exams. So I knocked out the neuro lecture and then we took a break for fresh air and a leg stretch.

We proceeded to head across the parking lot to the helipad. We all posed around the Wake Med hel0; a beautiful machine -- the EC 135 with their appealing crimson and white paint scheme. It really is an appealing piece of equipment - I hope the class photos came out okay!

Afterwards we headed back in for another lecture.
This time it was back to Rick for his ABG lecture. Now since I've known Rick, and since the first time I've seen him do this lecture; I am continually amazed and blown away how he does this. The first 15 min or so arethe groundwork for the topic; looking at some basic ABG concepts, pulmonary function/gas laws etc. Once that's done, the "show" begins. Rick starts to run through these ABG "problems" on the board. He starts off like a kindergarten teacher, holding the student's hand through the first few examples, prompting them along the way. Then he backs off a bit and starts letting the class work through the problems more independently.

Towards the end, the students are engaged and interacting. There were a few people however that just "didn't get it" completly and a few who were aking the time honored "calculus question: but what will I do with this in the real world?"... We had to try to explain to them that it's not so much that you'll be doing calculations like this bedside or stretcher side, rather it was a learning curve to start to drive home the relationships between the components and the principles there which lent themselves to overally pt management.

There wasn't a person who told us they had looked at the whole ABG/respiratory function like we just did here - I'm sure there were SEVERAL seasoned people who left that room feeling like they actually LEARNED something!

That pretty much wound it up for the day, it was close to 5pm and people were tired.

We'll be back hitting it early Sunday morning...bright and early at 0800!

Gonna have to step it up and get in our "zone" to keep this puppy on track.

Full day tomorrow, topics include...

4)Thoracic/abdominal trauma


7)General medical

Gonna sign off for now, it's late and I gotta review some notes!
"...KMG-365, Clear..."

Mar 16, 2009

Getting Blood Out of a "turnip"...

So... the coroner comes in with a body. Tells us he needs an order and a requisition for a carboxyhemoglobin level. Apparently there was concern on scene that this deceased had quite a few kerosene heaters running in the house and the concern is for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Well we wrote up the blood gas lab slip and gave it to him (the coroner) with the appropriate specimen labels. I was standing right there, with a little free time on my hands (imagine that- free time in an ER! yikes~!)...and I told my attending MD, "I'll go do it if you're busy" (cool!).

So I went with the coroner and set about to draw this "arterial" sample...!!!
Then I got to thinking....
1) Does it have to be arterial? Isn't the COhb level the same arterial vs. venous?
2) If it has to be arterial, how do you palpate the artery on a corpse?????

Anyways, after consulting with the respiratory therapist on duty (who I trust) they explain that it really won't matter at all but to try for arterial if possible.

So I set about to do a radial artery stick. First I thought about doing Allen's Test (yeah right), then I proceeded to do it just by "feel" in the same place I've always done it into the radial artery.

Got a good flash in the ABG syringe, but it was a S-L-O-W draw. Usually I'm quite used to this brisk, bright red flow from the artery; you could definitely tell this was different. It took a few seconds, but we got it done and sent it off.

Something you don't get to do every day that's for sure!

"...KMG-365, Clear..."

Mar 12, 2009

CEN Practice Questions 2-25-09

(ANSWERS POSTED 3/12/09 - Scroll to bottom of this article for link)
Here's some sample CEN like review questions. Try to answer them and write out a rationale. Try to justify why the answer you choose is correct and why the others are wrong.....

Category: Special Populations
(1) You are discharging your 79 year old female pt who sustained a large skin tear. Which of the following is the best answer regarding patient education for this client?

A) Use pre-printed instruction sheets.
B) Prepare handwritten instruction sheets.
C) Instruct the patient to call their private physician if they
have any questions.
D) Conduct a one-on-one discussion with the patient.

Category: Gastro-intestinal Emergencies
(2) A 36-year-old male is in severe distress due to upper gastrointestinal bleeding. He has been vomiting bright red blood at home for 4 hours. Which of the following interventions is the highest priority?

A) Apply 100% non-rebreather oxygen mask.
B) Initiates IV access and starts a Normal Saline bolus.

C) Inserts nasogastric (NG) tube.

D) Draws blood for a type and cross.

Category: Respiratory Emergencies
(3) The SPO2 of an ED patient suddently drops to 88%. Of the following, what should the RN do first?

A) Put the pulse ox sensor on another finger.
B) Check to see if the auto-blood pressure cuff is inflated.

C) Assess for changes in the patient's mental status.

D) Obtain an arterial blood gas.

Category: Environmental Emergencies
(4) Your patient sustained a near-drowning incident. Which of the following plays the most significant role in their condition?

A) Hypothermia
B) Pneumonia

C) Dysrhythmia

D) Hypoxemia

Category: Professional-Legal Topics
(5) Which of the following legal principles applies to the RN working in the Emergency Department?

A) Duty of care
B) Breach of duty

C) Proximate causation

D) Injury