Sharing The Doctors Company Foundation 2014 Award-Winning Essays

At the National Patient Safety Foundation annual meeting in May, the sharing of patient stories was once again at the forefront of the meeting. Helen Haskell, Tanya Lord, Regina Holliday and more, provided real-life examples of why a focus on patient safety is still a much needed and continuous journey. There is also a growing awareness of the need to honor provider stories, perhaps one of the missing links in the quest for zero preventable harm across the country. The Doctors Company Foundation (TDCF) is well aware of the power of medical student and resident physician stories, and instituted the Young Physicians Patient Safety Award, which is given to the author of the best patient safety driven essays written by 3rd and 4th year medical students, and first year resident physicians. TDCF shared those essays and the award winners at this year’s NPSF, with the winners to be honored at the 6th Annual Association of American Medical Colleges’ Integrating Quality meeting June 12th & 13th.

Excerpts from the winning essays follow, but being less than two weeks away from our first 2014 Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camp–and in our 10th Anniversary year–it was with great enthusiasm that I read the 2014 Award-Winning Essays. Since 2010, our student and resident physician driven Telluride blog has seen an increase in submissions, and I can only hope it is more than the younger generation’s acculturation into blogging communities or social media. I would like to believe it has more to do with the younger generation of providers embracing the transparency that will be needed as they navigate the challenging landscape the present day career in healthcare holds. The following excerpts, like our blog posts, hold knowledge and wisdom far beyond the years of the author’s tenure, and are equally reflective of what is needed to provide the full complement of safe, patient-centered care we all want. We talk of educating the young, but far more often, they are educating and inspiring us. So in the spirit of educating the young (and old!)–Please keep writing!

…I read everything I could get my hands on about root cause analysis, the Swiss cheese model, and methods to “engineer out” potential for human error. It was not until my third-year surgery rotation, however, that I encountered the major challenge to patient safety that no number of PDSA cycles can resolve–the problem of a medical culture that is not safety conscious…


…In the case of this patient, who cannot read, more time has to be spent educating him about his medications and adverse drug reactions…emphasizing the most important points to be certain they’re understood…Some patients may not readily admit to their health care provider that they cannot read, and we should be sensitive to clues that suggest the patient may be illiterate…


TIME: 6:00AM, Surgery Morning Rounds Began: Ms. A, your MRI shows you have colorectal cancer…said my surgery attending, who rushed out of Ms. A’s room right after he dropped this shocking news…TIME 12:30pm Rounds Just Adjourned: A nurse ran into the surgery dictation room: “Who is Ms. A’s doctor? Did you know she has depression, and today is the first time she’s heard she had cancer? She just attempted suicide”…I was shocked by this…how could the whole surgery team not know Ms. A hadn’t yet been informed of her cancer status?…



One Comment on “Sharing The Doctors Company Foundation 2014 Award-Winning Essays”

  1. […] of winning essays from 2014 can be viewed via a past ETY posts (click here), and a review of the 2015 Essay Winners will soon follow. For additional questions, visit The […]

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