Week 3: Piles and Piles of Patient Files

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Having now completed my third week at the William Harvey, time is certainly going faster than I expected. I’ve spent much of my week concentrating on the same SUTO work and completing more practice OSA questions. We also finally finished checking through all of the relevant patients from 2010-2013 to see if they had undergone a CT perfusion scan – a big relief! This was the most repetitive part of the work so far and so it was nice to see it completed, allowing for more time to spend diving into patient notes and filling in our corresponding spreadsheet. With no set deadlines to meet across the weeks I feel that we had made finishing this an important target for ourselves in terms of measuring progress. This has thus allowed us to break down the project into smaller goals and more importantly, spurred us on to finish data collection.

The patient files that we’ve been ordering have continued to flow in and so there’s been lots of interesting work to do. I’m feeling much more confident with finding specific  patient information and am getting faster at going through the files (leaving piles and piles of patient files covering our designated shelves). However, with the amount of random notes from clinicians made across pages in the files and multiple assessment forms having not be completed, it’s always going to take multiple read throughs per person before as much as possible can be gleamed from the available information. We also decided to take a few hours this week to catch up with relevant project reading. Finding similar project papers to our own is a lot easier now compared to our first week. This is due to both having a greater understanding of the projects’ theoretical bases,  as well as being able to actually now use various keywords within searches. Doing this reading has also allowed me to expand my knowledge regarding what some of the information that we have been collecting from patient data actually means (beyond a general overview). For example, I now have a much clearer understanding of the components that make up patient scores against the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and what types of questions a clinician may ask in order to assess these. I’ve included an example graphic of these NIHSS components below.

It will be interesting to see how things progress now that we’re concentrating on case files. Although the work’s repetitive it’s hard to get bored. Each new case requires concentration to find the relevant data and shows me something new and interesting, whether it’s different scan results or treatment patterns.


Image retrieved from: http://911stroke.info

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