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Stephen P Wood

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Stephen P. Wood, MS, ACNP-BC (Educators, ’19) is a nurse practitioner, working in the field of emergency medicine as well as an instructor at Northeastern University in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences Graduate School of Nursing. He is a fellow at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics and a regular blogger for the Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center “Bill of Health”. His areas of interest include the flipped classroom, experiential learning and simulation. Stephen can be followed on Twitter or contacted via email.

Pedagogy and Discharge Instructions: Do We Practice What We Preach?

“OK, so we think you have pleurisy. Your D-dimer was negative. You should take ibuprofen, rest and stay hydrated, then follow-up with your primary care physician. Any questions?”

My daughter reached for her discharge papers as she slid off the exam table and we thanked the staff as we made our way out of the urgent care part of a local emergency department.

She was eighteen at the time, a college freshman studying sociology. She called me to tell me she had been experiencing two days of pleuritic chest pain and felt a little short of breath. Because our logical, medical brains turn into parent brains when our child is sick, I dropped everything I was doing to go and see her. She looked fine, the pain was probably just musculoskeletal; she is a ballet dancer and these minor aches and pains are common. But, I thought, “What about a pulmonary embolism?” “Not likely” I thought, “but I’m here so let’s go get it checked out”.

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