Patient Care

The Cutting Edge


Since the beginning of formal medical education, one of the biggest challenges in treating patients has been learning from mistakes. How do providers balance the potentially grave consequences of medical mistakes with the possibilities of improving patient care?

While the conundrum is far from solved, hospitalists at HM11’s “Advanced Interactive Critical Care” pre-course will get hands-on experience in the newest techniques in patient care without affecting real patients. The pre-course will use simulators to replicate real-life situations with critical-care patients.

For the annual meeting’s course director, the simulators are the next step in training hospitalists. “This is really exciting,” says Daniel D. Dressler, MD, MSc, FHM, associate professor and director of internal-medicine teaching services at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. “As an educator, it’s really something unique. We learn the best by actually doing and sometimes making mistakes; it’s better to do that in simulations with expert advisors offering immediate feedback.

“Not only will pre-course attendees get high-quality didactic information, but they will also participate in the simulation of critical-care events with very experienced faculty,” he says.

It’s really something unique. We learn the best by actually doing and sometimes making mistakes; it’s better to do that in simulations.—Daniel D. Dressler, MD, MSc, FHM, associate professor and director of internal-medicine teaching services at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, SHM board member

Pre-course participants will have the option of having more hands-on time with the simulators in lieu of lectures. Dr. Dressler, an SHM board member, calls the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technology “exceedingly unique.”

The primary simulator will look, feel, and sound like a real person with actual physiological parameters. It breathes and has a pulse—or, in some cases, doesn’t have a pulse. Dressler says participants will be in front of a simulated patient who is going through septic shock or having airway or ventilator problems. While interacting with colleagues and instructors, participants will diagnose and treat the simulated patient. The simulator can replicate real-life complications that can result from treatments.

The pre-course materials state that after completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain basic and advanced mechanical ventilator physiology and strategies for complex situations, including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and troubleshooting ventilator problems;
  • Integrate physiology with treatment of common and less common forms of shock; and
  • Apply appropriate sedation and analgesia strategies to minimize delirium in the ICU, and optimize ventilator weaning.

Additionally, the pre-course will present, model, and practice the latest in evidence-based, critical-care practice. Though the pre-course is called “advanced,” it is open to any hospitalist looking to improve their critical-care skills.

“We were getting feedback that people were ready for the next level,” Dr. Dressler says. Along with the basics of critical care (e.g. sepsis, sedation), the pre-course will cover more advanced issues. “We understand that many people have been practicing critical care for a number of years. This course will benefit any hospitalist, regardless of prior critical care experience.”

Led by instructors Kevin Felner, MD, and Brian Kaufman, MD, of New York University Medical Center, “Advanced Interactive Critical Care” begins at 8:50 a.m. May 10. However, the first simulation session begins at 7:20 a.m., and pre-registration is required.

CORRECTION: The information provided in the “Key Points” and “Additional Reading” sections of the January 2011 “Key Clinical Question” (“What Is the Best Treatment of an Adult Patient with Hypercalcemia of Malignancy?” p. 12) were incorrect. The correct “Key Points” and “Additional Reading” are updated on our website.

Another new HM11 pre-course will focus solely on using handheld ultrasound devices. The appeal of ultrasounds for use in hospitalists’ rounds is increasing; this course will train hospitalists to use them to look at patients’ vessels, heart, and abdomen.

Hospitalists who take the portable ultrasound pre-course in conjunction with the “Medical Procedures for the Hospitalist” pre-course will receive a full day of the best training in the practice and tools used in medical procedures. The procedures course runs from 8 a.m. to noon May 10. The portable ultrasound course runs from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Both pre-courses are taught by Bradley T. Rosen, MD, MBA, FHM, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and Sally Wang, MD, FHM, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. TH

Brendon Shank is SHM’s vice president of communications.

SHM Leadership Academy: Taking It to a New Level in March

Originally designed as a class to help hospitalists develop leadership skills, SHM’s Leadership Academy has grown into a complete curriculum for hospitalists aspiring to lead programs. Now with three separate courses, an established group of alumni, and a leadership certification program on the horizon, Leadership Academy will offer two of the three courses March 21-24 in Las Vegas.

The newest course, “Advanced Leadership: Developing a Winning Team and Strengthening Your Organization,” focuses on the unique challenges of developing, maintaining, and leading a successful HM practice. Created in response to academy alumni eager for more leadership education, the course builds on the topics and skills presented in the original course, “Foundations for Effective Leadership.”

The “Foundations” course aims to help hospitalists better evaluate their personal leadership style, apply it to the hospital setting, and better communicate with audiences within the hospital. Russell Holman, MD, SFHM, will open the “Foundations” course and teach sessions on strategic planning.

“To me, nothing could be more gratifying than to see expertise in leadership as a means to driving change and improvements that we all see need to be made,” Dr. Holman said at HM10.

For more information, visit or e-mail [email protected].

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