Deanna's Reviews > The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
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Jun 14, 10

Read on June 13, 2010

I was an ICU nurse for 10 years, and now am a family nurse practitioner. When I precept nursing students, I show them my daily list -- in the ICU, it is a 3" wide, 12" long piece of adhesive tape (easy to write on) stuck to the patient's bedside table where it can't get lost, with a simple list of numbers for the 12 hours of the shift down the side of the tape, and then abbreviations to fill in each hour what that patient needs so I don't forget anything important and can cross them off as I go. VS for vital signs, CT for an appointment in CT-scan, Vanco for the vancomycin infusion, SG for the Swan-Ganz intra-cardiac catheter pressure readings. Back and forth between my two patients' rooms, I run through my checklist each hour. It has saved me (and the patient, of course), more times than I can count from some stupid oversight, but getting new nurses to adopt the technique is intensely difficult, just as Dr. Gawande discusses.

Perhaps I love my checklists because I was already in my late 30's with a not-so-good-anymore memory when I finished nursing school. Now I use my EMR (electronic medical record) to remind myself of each individual patient's needs. Messages pop up for the day I set: "check for return labs," "repeat mammogram done?", "oncologists report back?"

This book should be required reading for everyone. Schools should begin teaching the techniques in the elementary grades. Success in life, as Dr. Gawande states, is less about brilliant maverick-cowboy moves and more about the discipline of getting it (whatever "it" is for you) right every time. Thank you, Dr. Gawande.
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Cardiacnursee Thanks Deanna for this review.. I had NO idea that Atul Gawande wrote another book. I believe that I only knew about Complications and his other book. Thanks. I will try to locate this book to read STAT! :o)


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