Communication, Clarity, & Medical Errors
TAPP Radio Episode 55
Host Kevin Patton discusses the importance of teaching proper communication in the anatomy & physiology course. Topics include handling spelling errors, alternate spellings, proper use of type case, and addressing professionalism goals in the syllabus.
00:47 | Is Spelling Important?
10:06 | Sponsored by HAPS
10:33 | Alternate Spellings
14:12 | Sponsored by AAA
14:31 | A Case for Proper Case
26:16 | Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program
27:05 | Professionalism as a Course Goal
30:05 | Staying Connected
Get the full experience—first, listen to this episode’s Preview (with additional content).
Second, listen to the regular episode after listening to the Preview (above)
When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible. But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations. (Marilyn vos Savant)
Is Spelling Important?
I’ve done a complete turnaround in my teaching over the years —I used to be lenient about correct spelling, but now I’m a stickler for exactly correct spelling. In this segment I discuss my reasons.
- Examples of commonly confused terms with similar spelling (many of these are from Shawn Macauley). See below for expanded list (handout).
- perineum, peritoneum
- peroneal, perineal, peritoneal
- ileum, ilium
- coronoid, coracoid
- abduction, adduction, addiction
- public, pubic
- cranial, crural, caudal, caudad
- glans, glands
- Bonus handout!
- Spelling IS important (TAPP blog post) my-ap.us/2Nesi8I
- Doing our part to reduce medical errors (TAPP blog post) my-ap.us/341FjsN
- Deaths from avoidable medical error more than double in past decade, investigation shows
(Scientific American blog post) my-ap.us/2MLKgQW
- In a review of 337,000 patient cases, this was the No. 1 most common preventable medical error (news report) my-ap.us/2qDT8iK
- Prevalence, severity, and nature of preventable patient harm across medical care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis (research report) my-ap.us/31OAD88
- Official “Do Not Use” list of abbreviations (from the Joint Commission) my-ap.us/3217NBu
- From theAPprofessor.org
Sponsored by HAPS
The Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) is a sponsor of this podcast. You can help appreciate their support by clicking the link below and checking out the many resources and benefits found there. There are a bunch of 1-day regional workshops scattered all over the continent. There’s probably one near you coming up this year (or next)!
Some terms can be correctly spelled more than one way. There is also an issue of differences in spelling from one dialect of English to another (e.g., U.K. English compared to U.S. English). If we are to expect our students to use correct spelling, we have to keep up with acceptable variations.
- End-of-Term Reviews Help Keep Your Course on Track | Episode 17 (discusses mammillary vs. mamillary)
- Is it Mamillary or Mammillary? (blog post from o-log-y) my-ap.us/2sqBZrK
- Gray anatomy or grey anatomy? (blog post from o-log-y) my-ap.us/2oEXMwj
- How Do You Spell the Color Gray? (blog post from Grammarly) my-ap.us/2N9Jldf
- Bonus handout!
Sponsored by AAA
A searchable transcript for this episode, as well as the captioned audiogram of this episode, are sponsored by the American Association for Anatomy (AAA) at anatomy.org.
A Case for Proper Case
When we properly capitalize terms, it demonstrates our professionalism, serves as a teaching model for students, improves clarity, and potentially reduces medical errors. A capital idea!
- Font Case (brief summary of different font cases: sentence case, title case, all caps, etc.) my-ap.us/2pWCSsM
- Italic Text Generator (generates italic type for use in texts, tweets, etc.) my-ap.us/italic
- Title Case (generates proper title case for different standard styles; gives rules for title case) my-ap.us/TitleCase
Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program
The Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction—the MS-HAPI—is a graduate program for A&P teachers. A combination of science courses (enough to qualify you to teach at the college level) and courses in contemporary instructional practice, this program helps you power up your teaching. Kevin Patton is a faculty member in this program. Check it out!
Professionalism as a Course Goal
Sometimes a student frets about the A&P course being “not a spelling course” or “not an English course” — but professional communication is an essential skill for health professionals. Why not add this statement to our syllabus and/or other course documents?
Need help accessing resources locked behind a paywall?
Check out this advice from Episode 32 to get what you need!
(If no link or player are visible, go to https://youtu.be/JU_l76JGwVw?t=440)
This podcast is sponsored by the
Human Anatomy & Physiology Society
This podcast is sponsored by the
Master of Science in
Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction
The easiest way to keep up with new episodes is with the free mobile app:
Or wherever you listen to audio!
Click here to be notified by email when new episodes become available (make sure The A&P Professor option is checked).
Record your question or share an idea and I may use it in a future podcast!
Toll-free: 1·833·LION·DEN (1·833·546·6336)
Please click the orange share button at the bottom left corner of the screen to share this page!