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    Applying rules of engagement to real-life scenarios

    From military to clinic, lessons learned can provide valuable experience for future directives


    Rules of the road

    Somewhere along the way, I began to develop my own set of rules.

    While I was teaching, I would espouse:

    Diane’s Rule Number 28: “If you used the last one—get another!” or Diane’s Rule Number 2: “Never take your eye off the patient while doing the exam—even if you think they are perfectly normal. Those are the ones to especially watch.”

    One year, as a gift from a graduating class, an enterprising student recorded all my rules in order. Wow, I never knew I had that many rules. Quite honestly, I always used a different number because I never kept track of what number matched what rule.

    Looking through the list, I feared that it, too, was very restrictive. Even though these were my “rules of the road” that I had developed after experiencing many scenarios, they might not always fit someone in a different clinic location/setting (private office versus hospital setting).

    I realized that such rules did make sense, regardless of where they were taking place. As an example, for the above-mentioned Rule Number 28, have you ever reached into the refrigerator and grabbed a carton of milk, before realizing there was a teaspoon of milk left in the carton? And you had just come back from the grocery store?

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