Monday, 19 January 2009

The Logbook Blues


As an anaesthetist in training, I’m supposed to keep a record of all the patients I give an anaesthetic to. I’m meant to record their age, their physical state, what type of anaesthesia they had, what operation they were having and whether or not I did any additional procedures. This is so my trainers and I can have an idea of what I’m doing and get some handle on how my training is progressing.

The Royal College of Anaesthetist has helpfully produced an electronic database so we can all record (and encrypt) this data. The idea being that at the end of each working day, I come home and enter the data into my electronic logbook.

The problem is, that this is really tedious and I’m a bit lazy, so after a long day’s work, I can almost inevitably find something better to do than update my logbook. The days and weeks roll on and then I have the sudden realisation that I’ve not updated my logbook for several months. I realise that I have SEVERAL HUNDRED operations to enter into my logbook and there’s nothing for it apart from rolling up my sleeves and sitting in front of my computer and typing in all the information into the database. This literally takes days. It’s so depressing and tedious. This is what I spent much of the weekend doing and I still haven’t caught up. It’s really given me the logbook blues.

Every time I have to do it, when I finally get up-to-date, I promise myself that I’ll never do it again and that it’s much easier to spend 20 minutes doing it every day than spending three days doing it every few months.

And then the next day comes and guess what? Suddenly there are several things to do that are more interesting than updating my logbook…

7 comments:

sesaworuban said...

This is when you need a Blackberry or something so you can do it while sitting on the bus/train/loo. :D

smudge said...

You have my sympathies. I am supposed to record my CPD in a similar way (well, it's a Word document rather than a nice database but the same kind of idea) and always end up spending days before review meetings trying to remember what I did and why and then write it up creatively. And however much I tell myself I'm going to spend 1/2hr every week doing it, I never do. Which reminds me, I didn't have a review in December and haven't updated the flaming log since October....

Harry said...

skydivers are meant to do the same. how much or little detail goes into a logbook entry is personal discretion, though it's always helpful to have good detail so a visit to a new dropzone doesnt get off on a bad foot when showing the center chief instructor your record of jumps!

equally, we're meant to have each entry countersigned by another qualified jumper, and their license number ... i know of at least a couple of people who have "logbook signing parties" where they sit in a circle drinking beer and just passing the logbook to their left every few pages ;)

as smudge said, you could get a blackberry. can you use them in theatre? you could do half the details on the spot! :D

Anonymous said...

I used to use a version for surgical trainees that worked on a palm pilot, with drop down boxes and preformatted fields so I could do it in a minute or two after each case / day. You could do it while you gas! Surely you lot are more tech savvy than a bunch of surgeons?

Jo said...

Or - the slightly more low-tech version - if you can't afford to get a Blackberry - how about setting up a Twitter (i.e. blogging by text)? You can lock them down so that it is only visible to someone with a password (just you...), then Twitter after each operation and just copy and paste from the blog at the end of the day.

Dr Michael Anderson said...

Thanks for the suggesrtions everyone, quite a few of my colleagues use vasious "log as you go" devices, but the problem I have with Blackberries/palms is that I'm just not very good with small, technological things. In my hands, they inevitably get lost/stolen/left in a pub/dropped down the loo - don't ask me how many mobile phones and mp3 players I've had in the last five years - it's just embarrassing.

The Twitter idea would work better for me except that sites like Twitter are banned at work so i can't access it. Also, I've not sure I'd trust Twitter to hold this information for me. The royal college of anaesthetists have an online logbook that I could use, but given past experience of medical computer systems, i don't trust them to store the data safely either. Maybe i'm being paranoid

Anonymous said...

I'm the same with my end of the month paperwork. I'm a midwife and have to account for where I am, how long I'm there, number of phone calls, how long each one took, my mileage etc etc. If I don't submit all of this I don't get paid my extra duty payments. Yippee. Love your blog by the way.