Step #10 Practice Makes Perfect: Perform Mock
In the event of a crisis, knowing what to do versus actually practicing what to do are two very different things. This point was
substantiated during the 2008 University of Michigan School
of Dentistry study on the ability of dental students to manage a
simulated angina attack.
Of the subjects tested, 68 percent independently identified the need for oxygen and the correct location of the
equipment in the dental school. Only 15 percent of the
students completed the experiment within a predetermined
optimal time frame, and 50 percent of all students did not
successfully operate the tank regulator to administer oxygen correctly. Although most participants in the study were
able to verbalize the proper protocol for managing medical
emergencies, the chairside execution in this situation demonstrates room for improvement.
The results of the study highlight the potential disconnect
between instruction in the classroom and actual clinical practice. Performing routine simulated emergency drills bridges the
gap between this disconnect and improves confidence in dental
practitioners when it comes to emergency management.
In conclusion, dental teams should be prepared to prevent what
is preventable and effectively manage what is not. Although
some medical emergencies can never be prevented, best practice dictates that teams receive the proper training and make
the necessary preparations in order to increase the likelihood of
a successful outcome during an urgent and emergent medical
situation. In addition, regular audits should be carried out in
the dental practice in order to ensure that the response to an
emergency event is maximized. Emergency equipment and
drug kits should be checked weekly, and response time of team
members should be timed during mock drills. Preparing for
emergency events in advance gives the dental team the ability
to identify deficiencies and take the necessary steps to implement improvement.
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