Today’s guest is Karen Panzarella PT, PhD, CHSE! Listen in as she shares her years of experience as both an educator and a clinician!

Today’s Guest

Karen Panzarella PT, PhD, CHSE

Karen Panzarella is an Associate Professor at D’Youville in Buffalo, NY; a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator and TeamSTEPPS master trainer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, a master’s degree in exercise science and a PhD in Educational Psychology all from the University at Buffalo.

She has thirty years of experience as a healthcare clinician and more than twenty as an educator. Karen instructs courses in physical therapy education on professional development, advocacy, aging and supervises clinical education. She also practices in subacute rehabilitation.

Dr. Panzarella is driven by the crisis of avoidable medical errors leading to the third cause of death in the US and believes that training and education in collaborative care is a worthwhile solution.  Currently Dr. Panzarella serves as D’Youville’s Director of Interprofessional Practice and Education where she has created a robust interprofessional curriculum involving over 40 faculty and 800 students annually.

Dr. Panzarella is a key player in the development and planning of D’Youville’s 50,000 sq. ft. Health Professions HUB which will break ground for construction in September 2019.  She is leading the efforts for its care component, a collaborative community primary care clinic with rehabilitation and a medically oriented gym and the comprehend component, simulation based education training.

Her research focuses on the use of healthcare simulation for collaborative practice. She strives to facilitate the transition from the academic to clinic environment for optimal patient care and safety utilizing team-based approaches.

Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @panzarek


Key Takeaways

  • Karen discusses her inter professional collaboration simulation program and how it helps her learners.
  • Dr. Panzarella stresses the importance of a safe space to make mistakes.
  • She hopes to empower students to ask about what they don’t understand.
  • Karen discusses how communication skills are not soft skills, they must be practiced and taught.
  • She feels that a supportive team decreases burnout and increases workplace satisfaction.

“Nobody goes into healthcare because they want to do any damage or harm. But then you ask them, how comfortable do you feel asking for help. And they all look at you. And there’s there’s this silence…”


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Check out other great episodes with John Jurica MD and Greg Meola Pharm.D


Andrew Tisser 0:11
Interpersonal communication teachable. How do we bring together our young learners and teach them to effectively communicate within the team? Or in the answers to this question anymore? On this episode of the Talk2MeDoc Podcast.


Hey guys, this is Andrew. Welcome back to the talk to me doc podcast. If you’ve been here before. Thanks for coming back. If you’re new, don’t forget to subscribe because this episode like every show, we have the best guests from all around healthcare talks. about communication and how we can fix it. This episode brings Dr. Karen Panzerella on to the show. Karen is an associate professor at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York, a certified healthcare simulation educator and a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, a master’s degree in exercise science and a PhD in educational psychology all from the University of Buffalo.

She has 30 years of experience as a healthcare clinician, and more than 20 years as an educator. She instructs courses and physical therapy education and professional development, advocacy and aging supervises the clinical education and practices in subacute rehabilitation. I had the pleasure of recently being invited to meet Karen at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York and see the wonderful interprofessional collaborative simulation center that she heads. It is quite the program. Well without further ado Let’s welcome Karen onto the show. Karen Panzerella, welcome to the Talk2MeDoc podcast.

Karen Panzarella 2:06
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to talk a little bit about something that makes me passionate every day.

Andrew Tisser 2:11
Absolutely. Glad to have you. We I already recorded a little bio about you for the listeners. But in your own words, could you describe who you are, what you do and what your current career looks like?

Karen Panzarella 2:25
Sure, sure. My career has taken many different paths and directions. I’ve been a physical therapist by training for over 30 years. But then my career, took a lot of turns in different dives. And I went into private practice for a while and then I started in management and corporate world and private practice and managing healthcare systems, and specifically in a professional teams in rehab. And then I got into teaching, ended up at the University of Buffalo, and then landed myself here at UVA college for the past nine years. Heading up interprofessional education teams, and as well teaching entry level physical therapists.

Andrew Tisser 3:07
Great. Well, for those of the listeners who don’t know, could you talk a little bit more about do bill and what programs they offer at least in the healthcare space?

Karen Panzarella 3:17
Sure, yeah. D’youville is a small private college, downtown Buffalo, we’re really growing and thriving. And we put a lot of emphasis on our health care programs. We’re very proud of the fact that we have eight different health professions. And we’ve had a strong interprofessional program now for close to 10 years. And we get our students together quite often to learn and work together and learn how to be a true healthcare team before they enter the clinical world, either on their clinical rotations while they’re in school, but most importantly, to prepare them for their employment in the healthcare fields.

Andrew Tisser 3:51
Yeah, it’s a really great program that Karen has going on. I was able to meet Karen and take a look at the facility. fairly recently, and I was really excited by the interprofessional collaboration and the simulation that you guys are doing. Could you give the listeners a little brief intro on what you’re doing down there?

Karen Panzarella 4:12
Sure, sure. We really have an emphasis on training our healthcare professionals to be ready to hit the ground running. But most importantly, we feel that we graduate competent providers we always have. But we really want to take that one step further. Like how do you get from competent to great, and when you start to look at health care and where the needs are, it’s really the ability to work as a team. So after we dissected that, and how do you how do you get that to happen because students are educated pretty much in silos. You have the School of Nursing, you have the School of Pharmacy, you have the Department of Physical Therapy.

They do a great job preparing students within those fields. But as we know, when they get out in the real world, they all have to talk together with a common goal of having the patient as a team. So we’ve used A really neat approach that is becoming really popular across the United States called healthcare simulation. And what this does is it gives you the ability to recreate scenes that will be happening in their careers, and healthcare situations, and you can make them happen and you can almost force the learning to occur. So you create these scenarios in these scenes scenes where they’re going to have to deal with issues.

So let’s say they’re going to have to come in contact with a patient who may be expressing signs and symptoms that they may be thinking of ending their life. So how do they respond to that? How do they use their supports? How do they use your team? Where do they go for help. And so we create those situations so that they can get practice with them. And the really cool thing about healthcare simulation is it occurs in a really safe learning environment. And one of the problems I find that we have in healthcare over the years is that people are driven to be competent, but nobody is really rewarded for making mistakes because as we all know, To err is human.

We’re all going to make mistakes. nobody’s really rewarded for coming to the table and saying, You know what, I just don’t feel comfortable with how this is happening and what we’re doing. And so we provide this avenue in simulation where you really are forced to make mistakes and not do the right thing sometimes, because then we want to reflect on it in our debriefing session, which happens right after the scenarios. And we talk about these, how does it happen? What do we do?

How do we help each other? How do we talk about these situations that occur? And how are we comfortable with that? And then it comes out, you know, a lot of the students say, you know, I’m made to be felt that I have to be competent all the time. And if they don’t do something, right, I get points off where I fail a practical and I don’t really have that comfort of learning from my mistakes. And I think that’s one of the issues we have in healthcare.

Andrew Tisser 6:45
Absolutely. I mean, you know, the stakes are high, right? People make mistakes and people’s lives change. But at the end of the day, I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my career, I’m sure some of you and when we can Get together. You know, even even recently, I remember I had a code scenario where which didn’t didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. And we got to be able to talk to some of the players involved afterwards and see what went wrong and what you know what I could have done better what other people could have done better. And it’s really helpful because then people understand that it’s not always going to go perfectly, but we’re all there to take care of the patient. So it’s immensely helpful, I think, yeah,

Karen Panzarella 7:27
yeah. Yeah. The reflective practice and learning from our mistakes and how we can grow from them is extremely important. Many of us many of the students that I deal with when I ask them, why did they get into their chosen healthcare profession? You know, the common answer is always I want to help people. And we find, you know, nobody goes into healthcare because they want to do any damages or harm. They all want to write. They all want to help people. But they don’t even ask them.

Well, how comfortable Do you feel asking for help? And they all look at you and there’s there’s this silence. And that’s one of the issues that we have is I mean, I see this in my own life, whether it’s whether it’s in my profession or in administration, or what I do, I can go to some high powered meeting sometimes in Buffalo, and someone will be speaking and I’m thinking, I don’t really quite understand what they’re talking about.

And there’s a whole room full of people. And yet, I’m willing to raise my hand and say, Can you clarify this issue? And I know by looking around the table, everybody’s feels the same way. But nobody wants to ask for that. Because as soon as you ask for it, it looks to you or to others, you feel like you’re looking and competent. And so that’s a big issue that we have is how do you feel comfortable with asking for help?

Andrew Tisser 8:36
Yeah, that transcends a lot of different things or asking for help with your day to day work or asking for help because you’re struggling emotionally or psychiatrically. You know, but all the pressures that we have from from all different sides in healthcare right now, I think. I think the younger generations are doing better than the the older ones wants did about asking for But that’s, that’s an important point.

Karen Panzarella 9:02
Yeah, yeah, it’s one to definitely definitely build on. We like to use TeamSTEPPS training and training our students. And we have a goal right now. And we’re working towards it, that all of our students will be certified in TeamSTEPPS training before they graduate. And one of the pillars of TeamSTEPPS training is mutual support. So how do you you know, roll release with your teammate?

Or how do you help them if they do come in and they’re emotionally not on top of their game and they’re willing to admit it to you? How do you step in and help them and so, you know, the team steps training, you know, evolved from the, from aviation and Department of Defense for, you know, high, high risk environments, but it really really comes into play in outpatient centers and clinics and offices where, you know, we have the the day to day struggles of getting through the day with all that we have to do in health care with, you know, few resources. Time and management that adds a lot of stress to our workload.

Andrew Tisser 10:04
Could you talk a little bit more about what TeamSTEPPS is for listeners that are unfamiliar?

Karen Panzarella 10:13
Sure. TeamSTEPPS actually stands for targeted tools and strategies to enhance patient satisfaction and training. And it is a system that was developed almost 25 years ago from the Department of event defense, and the Agency for Healthcare Research, to really look at the problem we have in patient errors. And a big report came out called to errors human it was replicated again, some 15 years later, where we looked at just Sentinel events of patients actually losing their life.

And the root cause analysis of these events when you look back at them, that there was many events that were preventable. So when you look at the amount of preventable medical errors, and you really tease them apart, they get down to not just one person making a mistake. And particularly with technology, we’ve gotten a lot better with that it’s not the wrong dosage or the wrong IV bag. It’s more of a lack of communication, and roll release and support from your teammates. And so TeamSTEPPS really gives you tools to be able to look at these patient errors. And I’d like that I’d like your listeners to know as well as one of the things that that drives me with educating our healthcare professionals is that avoidable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. And, and a lot of people don’t know that that you are taking your life sometimes in your own hands when you enter a medical system, which is not good.

Now you don’t hear about it every day because these avoidable events happen across the country and not just in one system or in one hospital. But it amounts to about two jumbo jets a day going down with the number of people 440,000 people a year are affected by avoidable medical errs have lost their life. And so if we actually have this happening in our aviation system of two jumbo jets going down every day, I think people would really think about what is necessary to prevent that from happening because air travel is a necessity in life today. But yet nobody wants to take that risk. So we’re up against it now in healthcare, everybody wants a good health care system. But yet, what can we do to make it really as safe as we need to?

Andrew Tisser 12:27
That’s astounding, really, if you think of it that way? Yeah. How do you? How do you see the students responding to your program? Do they like it?

Karen Panzarella 12:37
They don’t like it. They love it. And I could I could honestly say that just from all the feedback and my interaction, I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds and thousands of hours with students in interprofessional simulation scenarios, because we can only get them together in the evenings. We run these on the evenings from five to nine and they walk in and like okay, here’s another thing I got to do. And you can see their mood changes. In four hours as they start to become competent and working with their team and the things that happen, by the end of the night, I have to kick them out.

I’m like, Alright, it’s nine o’clock, we got to close the sim center and move on. And I can’t get them, I can’t get them to stop talking about it. The feedback is astounding. They are. They feel that they’re really, it’s an eye opener, you know, they know their technical things they have to within their field. But they realize that in these situations, there’s more to it than just knowing your technical piece. It’s how you relate with with each other.

So it comes across very, very positive with our students, and we hear about it when they go back out on the clinical field. And we had one student a nurse practitioner who participated who was a speaker at our graduation ceremony, talk about how much it helped her when she got out and clinic and that she was driving her team to get more involved in doing some team playing events to promote the satisfaction with their work and reducing patient errors as well.

Andrew Tisser 13:59
That’s amazing. I mean, it’s such a simple thing, right? You got to get the different disciplines to talk to each other. But it’s got such a huge impact it has, how do you? How do you feel that communication affects patient care? That is communication within the team.

Karen Panzarella 14:17
it’s astounding. So the other thing is, you know, sometimes people will use terms like you lose, it’s so simple, it is so simple, or they call them soft skills. And you know, that it’s not that we have to be precise in it. And and actually, over the years, I come to figure just the opposite, that these skills are so important, and they’re so overlooked that I call them essential skills, and not soft skills anymore, or, or it’s not just not human nature. But when you put people in the situation where they can experience it, they can be trained and they can get better at it.

So it’s like introducing yourself to one another on a team. There’s several players for any patient these days, whether it’s an outpatient or inpatient Any hospital environment homecare. And yet the team members themselves don’t even really know who they are. And they may walk into a room and I have it on videotape, they walk into a room, they immediately engage the patient, maybe the patient’s spouse or family member, but they ignore their team member.

They don’t even ask them what their role is what they’re doing there. And so if we’re confused about who our team members are, and what their responsibilities and how they affect the patient care and their outcome, you can only imagine from the patient’s point of view how it looks. So we’ve had we’ve had trained actors that have sitting in those been in those roles where the, where the care is very disjointed. And they don’t even know when we set them up for these scenarios. And then we have a team that is more comprehensive and collaborative. And the feedback we get from the actors is amazing and rating, the differences between the teams and then being totally blind to which team was trained in TeamSTEPPS. And which team wasn’t.

Andrew Tisser 15:56
I mean, it’s very obvious to a patient when the Doctor and the nurse are not communicating well or the physician didn’t speak to some of the other sub specialists in an inpatient setting. And I think it’s it’s no mystery to the patient.

Karen Panzarella 16:13
Right? Right. They pick up on it and what happens don’t only not only they pick up on it, they lose confidence in us as a system. And they also get very misguided information, sometimes conflicting information. So it’s really interesting to our student learners that watch these simulations Go on, when they see sometimes when we purposely send different clinicians or practitioners in and out of rooms, and they’re watching the whole thing unfold.

And they can see that the patient has gotten different information, slightly different information from different healthcare providers. And as the patient they’re left not really knowing what to do. So when you look at patient outcomes, and particularly at those really important events like transition of care, so you’re going from the hospital to home or you’re going from home to outpatient, those trends of care often where that communication is lost and not effective. And then we often have a high readmission rate or the patient falls or takes the wrong medication. And when you look at it, and you really dissect it, it is back to those things that I call their essential, you know, communicating being on the same page supporting one another, making sure that everything is looked at from all angles for the patient perspective.

Andrew Tisser 17:25
Sure, absolutely. Do you think the in this era of improved technology, we’ve lost some of that and health care?

Karen Panzarella 17:33
Well, I can honestly say over the 30 years, I think that what I do has become more important and not less important. And when I look at it,

Karen Panzarella 17:42
I think technology does play into that.

Karen Panzarella 17:45
When when I bring my learners into the room for a four hour simulation session, I make them put their devices of any kind away until we have one break. And many times that’s the only time that they haven’t had Their device in their hand throughout the day. And I think we’ve gotten to the era now where we can look up just about any information we want at our fingertips. And that’s great. And so the emphasis on educating a student to actually memorize certain things, I think is something we need to think about how much do we actually have to memorize versus today?

How much do we have to be able to communicate, collaborate, and make decisions together and solve problems. And so education as a whole, really needs to shift away from how we educate our students, how we test them, and how we prepare them. So it’s kind of a different philosophy, and we’re getting there slowly, but I don’t think we’re getting there quick enough for what we need.

Andrew Tisser 18:46
Fair enough. I mean, Karen, don’t don’t they go through withdrawal. And that little time before they get to their break without their devices.

Karen Panzarella 18:54
They start to shake. They start to shake a little bit, but I think the most interesting thing When I watched them over four hours, they first come in. And in the beginning, they’re not even talking. They don’t know each other. They’re all from different disciplines. They don’t know each other. And they’re not talking to each other. And by the end of the night, because they have gone through these scenarios and worked with each other, and supported each other and made some mistakes and giving each other feedback, they’re friends.

They become friends, and they see each other and they’re exchanging information. And they want to know more about one another. And that’s really, when you can see that happen in four hours. You know, that there’s so much opportunity to build strong teams out there. But again, people tell me, we don’t have the time to do that. We have so many patients and so much to do, we don’t have time to do that.

Well, my research that we did last year with my team, where we saw some highly effective teams that were trained in TeamSTEPPS. They took no more time than the other participants in the skills that they were doing with the patients and their interactions. It didn’t take five more minutes, six more minutes. 30 seconds more. The time was equal. It’s just the way that you do it. So I think that’s really important to know. But you do need, you do need training and you need ability to practice it.

That’s the big thing is just practice, like anything else. If you practice it, you get good at it. If you don’t practice it, you forget it. So, you know, you can relate it to musical instrument, a sporting activity, if you don’t do it, you can go back to it and pick it up. But if you haven’t done it, you’re not going to be that good at it. So people get really rusty at this stuff if they don’t use it and practice it.

Andrew Tisser 20:27
Yeah. Which is sad. Really, right. I mean, it’s it’s person to person interaction that we’ve we’ve lost touch with, right? It’s, I mean, if anything, it would probably save time, because it’s you’re not repeating orders, and you’re not dealing with mistakes and things that got misconstrued because you’re just talking to each other about what’s gonna happen next, instead of putting in an order and walking away kind of thing.

Karen Panzarella 20:52
Right? Right. And we talked about things about checking back. So if you’ve had an issue where you have something that you’re concerned about, and you go and tell somebody Which happens a lot in health care. They’re like, well, I go and mention it to the head nurse. And this I’ve got a concern when I was in the room. But then we talked about well, did you go back and you check to make sure that that was actually done, because a lot of times, they’re not as passionate as you are about what you just saw in that room because they weren’t in there, you know.

So either you need to go get them and bring them with you, or you need to go check back with them to see if the next if the next thing was done. And so, ultimately, if we did some of these techniques, it would save time because a lot of times we’re backpedaling, okay, where did that happen? Where did that go? You know, trying to connect the dots. So, time time is really well spent. If you do things more as a team and less as a unilateral decision here. They’re

Andrew Tisser 21:45
sure absolutely. I mean, I think another point, we’re seeing an unprecedent amount of job satisfaction and health care right now. From at every level from the physician all the way down to every worker Do you think that miscommunication and poor communication within the team or within the facility contributes to that?

Karen Panzarella 22:09
Yeah, without a doubt, I mean, you ask anybody, when you have a really supportive team where you feel like you can admit you did something wrong or ask their opinion or roll release with them or you know, feel comfortable asking them to cover a shift without, you know, getting scolded or lambaste about it. When you’re comfortable with that team, your satisfaction goes up, and when you’re satisfied, as a team member, are patient as part of that team. And so ultimately, they’re going to be more satisfied.

And I think that’s really the nice thing that you start to see is that, you know, first of all, we can never change the fact that, you know, reimbursement rates are terrible, and people don’t have health insurance and we have to see more patients. I’m not suggesting that we’re ever going to be able to change those things, but we’re living within a system where how can we make ourselves happier and more successful in the system we’re given right now, whatever it is.

And so I think that’s the thing that we need to look at. And a lot of times what we do instead is we go, Well, we can’t do this, and we’re limited here. We don’t have time for this. We’re always looking at the negatives of our system, instead of well, how what can I do? What can we do to make our environment and our system more positive and more of a joy to be in?

Andrew Tisser 23:23
Yeah, I agree completely. I mean, how do you create the job that you want within the system that we’re working in? Right? I mean, they’re, they’re crowding out people that are trying to work on some of our issues in healthcare. But at the end of the day, as a worker, you’re responsible for your for some of your own happiness.

Karen Panzarella 23:40
Yeah, absolutely. And if you just like anything in your life, if you wait for someone else to fix the problems that you think are making you miserable, you’ll be waiting a long time, because I’ve been in I’ve been in healthcare for 30 years now. And the issues are still there. They’re just different issues. And so we can’t wait for that to happen. We got to take some responsibility for ourselves. So You know, just like in any relationship, you know, you can go see the marriage counselor, but at the end of the day, how good are the two people that are in the partnership? So you got to work on your own happiness and what that looks like and and how that’s going to work for you.

Andrew Tisser 24:13
Absolutely. Well, it’s a great thing you’re doing, Karen, I think you’re touching a lot of lives in really bringing a lot of people together that never would have met to really improve how they interact once they’re once they’re gone. You’re you’re getting them early enough in their career where it can make a lasting change.

Karen Panzarella 24:30
Yeah, and I think that’s that’s that’s the big thing, too, is I see is that they’re not set in their old ways, because they’re new and they’re excited. And if anybody’s going to bring enthusiasm to a team, it’s someone who’s just starting out right, the new guy, because they really don’t have all that goes with with some of us that have been on the team for years and years and and feel like nothing’s ever going to change and they’re very pessimistic. So, you know, our students that are graduating have an Uzi ism, they have a lot of hope. And they should So I think they have the ability to get out there and maybe light some fires and get get people you know, a little bit more joyful about what they’re doing by forming a stronger team.

Andrew Tisser 25:07
Come with. Yeah, that’s awesome. Karen, at this point in the show, I like to shift gears a little bit, maybe get to know you a little more for the guests. So do you have any book recommendations?

Karen Panzarella 25:21
Absolutely. I do. I love to read. And that’s really helped me in my journey of what I do. One of my favorite authors is Atul Gawande, who has written several books on healthcare teams. And one of his big ones several years ago was the Checklist Manifesto. That really helps surgeons to reduce their errors by using simple things like checklists and forms and when you just read about the uphill battle, that people have to go through to institute something as simple as a checklist and the or, and you realize that if you don’t have certain people continuing to press and certain people to help you out things, just work change.

So I think he sets a great example for perseverance and continuing to try to do some things that are not the way we’ve normally done it. He also has a great book that’s sitting here right here on my desk now called Being Mortal. And it’s, it’s called medicine and what matters in the end. And he does a great job of following patients as they age to see what happens with them. And I actually require this book for my students in physical therapy for their aging course, geriatric physical therapy, which will start next month with me, I actually use this as their textbook, where they follow some patients and they see the impact that we can have and what happens with people’s lives as they age and how the healthcare system is not really designed for people to age, but it’s designed to fix problems.

And so it’s an interesting thing, and also looking at the end of life. So he does a really good job of that and how we prepare for the end of life. So but he’s my favorite author, for my professional. And then I just read one that I really liked. I read In three days, I liked it so much. It’s called shoe dog by Phil Knight, the maker of Nike. I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t put it down.

I went to Denver for a conference and I, I finished it on the planes plane rides there and back. But again, it just shows you perseverance, teamwork, and I love you know, the fact that he talks about having the right people there around his table, and that that the energy that he got from that team made him in his company so successful, it is there when you get done reading it you’re like Nike is not Phil Knight Phil Knight is not Nike. You know, Nike is this team of people that he built over the years and it just really makes you see the value in that.

Andrew Tisser 27:45
Oh, yeah, I really shoot I tell everybody that shoot. Yeah, and I have not read Being Mortal I Checklist Manifesto. I read but I’ll have to read that one. Yeah. So

Karen Panzarella 27:57
and I suggest Being Mortal for anybody. You know that is getting older in life as we all are, we’re aging everyday. But getting to the point where they’re thinking, should be thinking about how am I going to plan for my aging? I think it’s really important. So I give it to my parents, my aunts, uncles friends, because it really does get you to look at. We all want to age well, but you also should be proactive about it, right? Sure. Absolutely. Yeah.

Andrew Tisser 28:20
All right. All those recommendations will be in the show notes for the listeners. What do you like to do for fun?

Karen Panzarella 28:28
Ah, my fun release is power yoga. My husband and I do power yoga a couple nights a week. We really enjoy that and we’re pretty active family. So we snow ski and in the summer we boat. We live on the Niagara River. So we’d love to boat and I love to water ski and fish and anything that has to do with the water. When I’m not working. I think that’s a way again of getting balance in your life. When you work hard. You kind of need to play hard and combining physical fitness and activity with something that you enjoy. As a great way to, to check out all those things that you want to do for your life.

Andrew Tisser 29:04
Absolutely. Even though it’s we’re unprecedentedly warm right now in here in Buffalo. Yeah, like 45 degrees today. It’s

Karen Panzarella 29:12
like a heat wave. But wait till tomorrow, I think it’s gonna be like 10 degrees.

Andrew Tisser 29:18
So if you could give physicians and other clinicians just a single piece of advice in the area of communication, what would you say that would be?

Karen Panzarella 29:27
One single piece of advice would be when you engage or meet up one, one of your healthcare members, introducing yourself and just a simple line of Hey, what’s going on? What’s your involvement catch me up? What are you seeing with this patient asking for their input and what they’re thinking? So we had a couple scenarios where I actually had a actor play a physician because we don’t have a medical school here, but we do have UB medical students that come over in the evenings and work with us as well.

But I’ve staged a couple scenarios where I have a physician walk in so that they amplify, example give an example of some good team. And there’s there’s a nurse and I think pharmacist and a PA in the room. And they just finished checking the wound of a patient and talking about it and the physician walks in and is going to start barking out some orders about discharge. But before they do that, they look at the teammates and introduce themselves and he says, What’s going on? Can you fill me in?

And the interesting thing is, when you’re watching this, when we talk about it later, the learners will say to me, it’s so shocking a physician needs to be filled in or needs our advice, like Don’t they know everything? Like we often think, because the physician holds a higher rank that they know everything and they have this telepathic crystal ball or whatever it is, and I tell the learners I go You guys have really valuable information. You’ve spent a lot of time with the patient, you’ve had dinner if different interactions. The physician wants to know what you’re thinking and what your thoughts are, and what your concerns are. But I think sometimes They feel like you guys already know that.

Andrew Tisser 31:03
Yeah. I mean, I certainly wish I knew everything that would make my job easier. But it’s true. I mean, the sometimes the newer nurses when you turn to them and you’re like, what do you think we should do? They’re, they’re shocked. Yeah. And I mean, a lot of times they they see things I don’t they spend more time with patients when I don’t and there’s I can’t even relate the amount of times that my entire plan has changed because of a single thing that I didn’t notice that someone else in the team did so right. It’s huge. Really,

Karen Panzarella 31:38
Yeah. And being able to give you a recommendation, you know, we teach us bars and and situation background, your assessment but that are is often left out, I say to say learners, like, tell them what you’re thinking. Do you think he’s having a stroke? Do you think they may be having a heart attack? Do you think that they have an infection that’s really important? And they’re like, wow, I don’t diagnose Well, no yet, but you You You, you know, you have some insight to this and you know what’s going on. So throw out what you what you’re thinking. And that really helps for the physician, whoever else is involved to make some decisions and ask some more questions.

Andrew Tisser 32:13
Right. And even if you’re wrong, that could be a great teaching point to

Karen Panzarella 32:16
it absolutely is. Yep, it absolutely is. Yep. So

Andrew Tisser 32:19
yeah, awesome. Well, if people want to reach out to you learn more about what you’re doing at do bill or just say hello, how can they find you?

Karen Panzarella 32:28
Um, they can find me a couple different ways. [SEE ABOVE]

Andrew Tisser 32:53
All right, awesome. Again, all that’ll be in the show notes for easy finding. Right. So Karen, this has been a lot A lot of fun. Really thank you again, for all you do for our learners out there. I think influencing the next generation is really great, and a wonderful thing to do in life. So, thank you again and we’ll be in touch soon.

Karen Panzarella 33:14
Great. Thanks for having me. I enjoyed the conversation.

Andrew Tisser 33:17
Likewise. Bye Bye. Take care. Bye bye.

What an amazing interview that was with Karen Panzerella I really love what she’s doing with interprofessional collaborative simulation. It is a really impressive center. Karen speaks about the importance of having a safe space to make mistakes and our learners which I thought was very powerful. She hopes to empower people to ask about what they don’t understand, which is a simple concept, but really misunderstood. I feel she espouses using the TeamSTEPPS approach to help with preventable errors in medicine.

Karen talks about how communication skills are not soft skills. They must be practiced and taught shields talks about how proper communication saves time in the long run, as well as having a supportive team decreases burnout and increases job satisfaction as a whole. Thank you again to all for listening. As I mentioned on the last show, this episode marks the last of the first topic area, which is team based communication from different role perspectives.

The next topic area will focus on communication as it relates to early career physician burnout, and how some of the current challenges in medicine may lead to improper communication in the workplace. For those of you on Facebook, I’d like to invite you to my closed group, talk to me community which brings all members of the healthcare team together under one roof to discuss some of these issues. Please remember to subscribe to the show and tell your friends who may be interested Till next time, keep on talking

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