I originally applied to attend AELPS during my first year of medical school. Amid the COVID lockdown, I was searching for an opportunity to explore a patient-centered version of medicine; this type of experience was certainly more challenging to come by in 2020! As I sat at my desk at home, I found myself missing the job I held during graduate school in a Memory Care and Assisted Living facility. I had built connections with the residents and their families, and I really enjoyed caring for them. However, this job also demonstrated several harsh realities that occur throughout the health care system. I saw how over-worked staff did not always give the appropriate time and consideration to resident complaints or requests, as they felt they needed to attend to a more urgent issue. I saw how sometimes things can fall through the cracks. Thankfully I did not witness severe harm to any of my residents, but experiences like those made me acutely aware of the shortcomings in how healthcare systems are currently run – how easy it can be to make a mistake that could negatively affect those we are trying to help. It got me thinking about how errors in medication, communication, and care can be avoided; two years later, my desire to attend the Telluride Experience remains the same.
As I enter my third year of medical school, I will be starting the clinical portion of my education. I am eager to begin experiencing the type of work that made me want to become a physician in the first place. My hope for this conference is to learn more about effective systemic changes that have/are being made to combat dangers to patient safety. The reading assignments discussed several systemic issues in healthcare. I am curious to know how patient safety protocols have evolved since their publication. Additionally, I hope this experience can open my eyes to the actions I can take as a medical student (and beyond) to improve patient safety education at my school. Though I will be the low woman on the totem pole/medical team as far as directives and leadership are concerned, I know that everyone can do their part to help improve patient outcomes and the quality of care for my patients.