The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA), a membership association of over 6,500 urgent care professionals, clinics and support staff covering close to 3,000 medical centers throughout the United States, recently held its Spring Convention in Orlando, Florida. FirstMed has participated in many of the association’s past meetings so that we stay abreast of current trends in urgent care and healthcare. This year we sent one of our fantastic (ok, they’re all great!) internists, Dr. Ágnes Hegedűs, to “The City Beautiful” (I bet you didn’t know this is Orlando’s nickname) to learn what is new and exciting in the field. She recaps her experiences.
Judging from the name “urgent care”, this must be a topic which is very useful for you nowadays at FirstMed.
The name “urgent care” could be a little bit deceptive because our clinic is a multi-specialty outpatient clinic, rather than the American-style Urgent Care Center where people might arrive with a broken finger or cut that requires stitches. What I found really useful was the pre-conference part, where we learned new techniques and skill working in smaller groups affording more hands-on training. During the first day I chose to improve my casting and splinting skills, then moving on to the most up-to-date stitching techniques. It was very interesting that for practicing cast application we used each other’s arms and legs. Of course for stitches the volunteers were just fake tissue for us to work on.
No, students here tend to use pig trotters for practicing stitching, which is also common in the US. The hotel where the conference was held would not allow organizers to bring trotters in, so we practiced on fake tissues instead.
How was the Urgent Care Association convention itself?
It was very interesting. One section that clearly sticks in my mind was on the topic of diagnostic X-rays. General cases were presented which actually had some non-obvious peculiarities about them. We found that simply examining X-ray records was not enough to be clear how to make a proper diagnosis. Occasionally doctors, even with many years of experience, are still unable to conclude if a patient has pneumonia just from an X-ray record.
Another topic of exploration concerned evidenced-based medication, emphasizing more reliable decisions for clinical treatment and therapy. This really hit home for me because we as FirstMed doctors need to strictly follow sets of protocols of different nationalities / ethnicities. FirstMed sees patients from six continents; different ethnicities often require different medications. I also found it interesting to see that the current idea of “patient care” is more closely aligned with the “way of the patient”. This means the nurses and doctors in working with a patient work together as a team, helping each other to make the system as effective as it can be.
What do you think you gained most from attending the conference?
In addition to the practical skills I improved, it strengthened the idea in me of what I would like to represent as a doctor. There is an emphasis that every doctor should be flexible and multi-faceted, that in all circumstances we should be open to listening to our patient’s problems, and of course keeping up-to-date with new skills and techniques.
FirstMed makes sure its doctors and nurses stay on top of new techniques, tools and skills in order to be prepared for when you are sick. In addition to urgent care and pediatric conventions we also attend specialized medicine conferences. Next month we will hear about this from our favorite “heart” doctor, Dr. Judit Seidner.