Annie Asplen, Paramedic, MS
Medical Writer, Regulatory Assistant, Senior Information Specialist
Some of the case scenarios that we handle at SafetyCall are very common. Whether it’s a dog who chewed on a roach motel or a child who ate too many gummy vitamins, we sometimes get so practiced at handling similar calls that we could recite them from beginning to end. But what about a bearded dragon lizard who found its way into a gas tank? And what if the child had one of those gummy vitamins wedged in her ear?
There are some types of calls that we might get once in our career. These are the cases that can catch us off guard if we’re not careful, even those of us who have been on the team for many years. These cases are particularly valuable in teaching staff the best way to handle exposures to rare chemicals, or scenarios of consumers getting a bit creative in how they’re exposed.
One of our most useful tools for sharing knowledge with our peers is the case study. This is done with presentations at our quarterly Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) conferences, as well as a “Case of The Week.” For either, volunteers are invited to share cases that they have handled, and which they found to be particularly interesting or valuable. At the M&M conferences, the cases are presented from the initial call to the outcome with a Power Point slideshow, and opportunities for questions and discussion afterwards. Less formal but much more often, a Case of The Week is written in short essay form and distributed to the call center via email. All patient information is redacted in these learning opportunities.
Most of our work is done independently, with a single agent handling each case. However, brain power is best when shared, and it is important to remember that we can all learn from each other. Our case studies help us ensure consistency and quality in the care we give to callers, and the service we provide for our clients.
Annie has been with SafetyCall for 11 years. She loves her job and says she has never felt more appreciated by an employer. She is a licensed paramedic and also has her Master’s degree in professional and technical communication. In her free time, she loves hanging out with her 20 month old son, Wade.