Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How To Work The Examining Table

I realize this is a common-sense kind of post, but I realize that no one ever properly oriented me to the examining table, the bed in most clinics where patients lie and are examined. There are a few things I've had to learn along the way. I guess I'll try this Socratic-style:

What do I do to make the patient comfortable when they lie down?Make sure they have a pillow if they are lying down for an extended period. Extend the leg support so that their legs are not dangling off the edge of the bed. It is easy to forget to do this, but it is important to do so your patient feels comfortable.

How do I adjust the angle of the head of the bed?
Most beds have a lever on the right side near the head that allows you to adjust the angle of the head. Simply press it, adjust the head of the bed, release the lever, and the bed should lock in place. Make sure to do this before the patient lies down.

How do I tear the butcher/butter paper neatly?
Most beds have this wax paper on them to keep the bed clean between patients. You should change it after every patient. However, it can be hard to tear at times. A simply way to tear it nicely to lay either the edge of your palm or your whole forearm down where you want to tear to form an edge. Then, simply tear with the other arm quickly in one brisk motion, and you should get a relatively nice tear.

Again, I realize most of this is obvious, but it's very easy to get nervous during the first years of med school when you first start seeing patients and forget about the patient's comfort, so hopefully this will help some of you beginners out there. Got more tips? Feel free to add a comment and mention them.

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