“You are the intern on call, and you have 15 minutes to write down all the patient safety hazards you can identify.” With those instructions, several of the 200 or so physicians-in-training who arrived at NYU Langone Health just prior to their first day of residency on July 1 are led into a room where the “patient,” a mannequin in a bed, is surrounded by dozens of potential threats. The training exercise is part of First Night on Call, an innovative program launched three years ago by NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
The program is designed to help interns prepare for the most intimidating stretch of their professional training: their first days in a hospital. “Our goal is to create a culture of safety from day one,” explains program director Sondra R. Zabar, MD, director of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation and of the school’s Standardized Patient Program, which employs actors to portray patients, family members, and caregivers during medical training exercises.
The 4-hour training session, held at the New York Simulation Center for Health Sciences, introduces interns from 15 residency programs to common clinical encounters. In one exercise, residents practice how to obtain informed consent. In another, they learn when and how to escalate a problem to a superior. Faculty members review their observations with the residents, identifying teachable moments. “We try to leave them with pearls,” says Jeffrey A. Manko, MD, director of the Graduate Medical Education Professional Development Program. “Our message is that it’s okay to report problems or mistakes because that’s how you improve the system—and become a better physician.”