At the end of this month we will be having one of our #MedEdJ virtual journal clubs. Below are the questions we are posing about the article featured in April 2015’s edition of Medical Education entitled:
‘Sorry, I meant the patient’s left side’: impact of distraction on left–right discrimination (pages 427–435)
John McKinley, Martin Dempster and Gerard J Gormley
Article first published online: 20 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/medu.12658
This article looks at left / right confusion by medical students, using a neuropsychological paradigm. As Dr. Gerry Gormley often asks when talking about this topic: “What is the fuss about right left confusion? Surely everyone can tell R from L?”
Specifically, this can be really important for patient care. Remember, most procedures and surgeries will be on a single pathologic side (e.g. a Thoracocentesis), so for patient safety it can be important to identify the correct side. Errors in such identification have lead to poor patient outcomes.
In this article, the authors explore issues such as:
- Why are some individuals are more challenged in distinguishing right from left?
The publisher has made this article available for reading even if you don’t have a subscription to the journal.
This month, we have decided to create some guiding questions to help our readers think about the article. Below are some questions compiled by our e-council and avid readers.
How this #MedEdJ Virtual Journal Club will work:
Similar to previous journal clubs for Medical Education, we invite you, the participants, to answer the questions in the blog comments below (just write Q1, Q2, Q3… etc.. to denote your answers).
Then starting on May 1, 2015, members of the authorship team will be online to respond. We will have a live Tweet Chat on May 1, 2015 with one of the authors (Dr. Gerry Gormley, @DrGerryG) from 3-4pm British Standard Time (10am-11am Eastern Daylight Time; 7am-8am Pacific Standard Time).
During the Tweet Chat, we will use the hashtag #MedEdJ.
After that, you can continue to comment on the areas below and we will help facilitate answers and discussion with the authors via the blog.
- Is there any evidence about the best way to improve left/right discrimination?
- Should medical schools be screening students for LR discrimination ability? And if so what impact would that information have on you?
- How is your medical school going to help students improve their left/right discrimination and deal with distraction?
- Is your medical school considering helping students to deal with distraction in medical practice generally?
- Given that distraction management is also a function of attentional control, would it have been helpful for the authors to measure working memory?
- How would their conclusions about sex and L/R distraction have changed if they had measured visual spatial intelligence and working memory capacity?
Don’t be shy! Join into the conversation below! All answers are welcome!
Thanks to Kulamakan Kulasegaram, Ellie Hothersall, and Karen Scott for their contributions to these questions.