CommCore Blog and News

Medical Intern “Boot Camp” — Life and Death and Communication

Few crises are as immediate as those faced by doctors and medical personnel with patients in life and death situations.

And nothing prepares a doctor – particularly a novice hospital intern – for a crisis like a simulation. Which is why the scenario-based  “Boot Camp” for interns at Chicago’s highly-rated Northwestern Memorial Hospital is considered one of the nation’s most rigorous programs preparing interns for real life health care.

During a 3-day program interns face several high-pressure situations. These include an actual life-and-death scenario in an Emergency Room or an Intensive Care Unit, and demonstrating effective communication with a dying patient played by an actor in a session titled “Difficult Conversations.” As the Boot Camp Director said, complicated as medical procedures can be, interns typically have a harder time with difficult conversations at the bedside.

 Though specific to interns in this case, the latter two program elements dovetail with what we at CommCore tell all our crisis clients:

·         Simulations are essential to crisis team building and for testing crisis response and protocols in any environment or organization

·         To be effective, communicators must be trained to develop and deliver messages calibrated to a particular situation, and to the intended audience including individuals, internal and external stakeholders, and the media.