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Thursday, November 8, 2007

ER is still worth watching

Medical dramas really comfort me after a rough day. Especially ER for some reason. I think it's because I can identify with the characters. While my job involves totally different functions, the physicians are placed in similar situations to those of my coworkers and I. Our Pharmacy is extremely busy...I rarely get a break, never get lunch, and never sit down my whole shift. In addition, I am faced with the potential for life threatening medical errors every minute of my day.

ER is the main place in television where they show realistic ambiguity about what the right decision is. In healthcare, the right answer isn't always easy to determine(e.g. Is this prescription a forgery made by a talented drug addict or is it from a stressed out doctor who got sloppy in trying to write it quickly for a patient screaming in pain). Sometimes the right answer is very complicated and unsatisfying to the patient (e.g. Sudafed PE works just as well as old Sudafed for some patients while others get nowhere near the same effect).

ER also shows just how busy things can get in healthcare and how you have to strike a difficult balance between being thorough enough to catch errors and fast enough to avoid drowning in work. This month I've had to deal with a woman who was hospitalized for an error made by another pharmacist. However, this same month, I found out that one of my technicians complained to management that I should work faster.

Finally, ER shows healthcare mistakes in perspective. No matter how good you are and how hard you try, mistakes will happen and patients will be angry. ER shows people beating themselves up over the mistakes they make and doing their best to prevent them in the future and deal with the consequences. This is exactly what happens in real life; you tell yourself there's no point in beating yourself up, but it's just what you do.

I know that ER is not realistic in many ways, but the emotions and the situations are realistic. It really comforts me to know that someone who writes for that show knows the experiences I go through.


Anonymous said...

yeah! special sauce is back!

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

Phew (wipes sweat from brow), finally I can relax and beat myself up a little about my career without having to come up with an entry!

Un-PC RPh said...

You must be watching reruns, because I haven't seen anything on that show that wasn't PC propaganda in about 10 years.