We have a nurse on our unit. John* is incredible with the patients and acutely intuitive about their well-being. He's saved several lives by noticing that a patient is 'off' and calling the appropriate people to take care of it.
He sucks at multitasking though. His medicines are always administered late and he can't give a decent concise report during shift change. We all, nurses and aides alike, dread following his group. There's always information missing and tons of catch-up to do before we can start our own assignments.
I recently read Dr. Ofri's Lancet contribution and thought about John and then about my own future as a physician. My experience thus far has been relatively painless. There's a certain triage that people use when they multitask. Providing orange juice for a glucose reading of 56 trumps the coffee for a visitor in room 654. Occasionally, When I'm juggling 10-15 requests, I'll sometimes overlook one.
It scares me that I may forget something vital when I'm a physician. Will I remember to order a CBC on a patient with a GI bleed? How can I be smart enough to manage the care of so many patients when I can forget to bring someone a ginger ale?
Dr. Ofri's editorial has relived my mind (somewhat) in that I won't be the only doctor with these fears.