Bulletin 131, January 2022

From the Editor, Dr Helgi Johannsson

Welcome to the January issue of the Bulletin and I really hope you had a wonderful Omicron/Delta-free Christmas and New Year.

As I write this on a dull, rainy December morning there are less than two weeks until we’re due to go away and celebrate a Big Birthday somewhere warm. Two years ago it would have seemed far-fetched to be doubting whether we might actually get away, but this has now become routine, along with so many other things we now take for granted. Que sera, sera to quote a song.

In a tenuous song link, of either Blondie or Carly-Rae Jepsen, Drs McCabe and Brodier (page 14) talk about something that has for a long time been a topic dear to my heart. 25 per cent of people don’t go by the name on their medical records, and surely it is only right to ask them as a part of our introduction what they would like to be called. A recovery nurse trying to wake a patient up by shouting ‘Alan!!’ when that patient has been called ‘William’ for the whole of his life, would seem to me futile. Having a system that allows us to record what the patient would like us to call them makes total sense.

Continuing the tenuous song links, a colleague many years ago talked about the importance of the ‘Bananarama principle’ in anaesthesia, which rang so true that I continue teaching it to trainees and medical students who weren’t even born when Bananarama and Fun Boy Three released their hit ‘It Ain’t What You Do…’.  If they look at me blankly I will play it to them, when the blank look is usually replaced by one of uncomprehending pity. I was delighted to see Pauline Elliott, our chair of the lay committee reference it in her article about how we must get our patients to have the big conversations about what they do and don’t want in their care (page 22). Getting these conversations right is vital!

The new year brings on an exciting change in the way the Bulletin is produced, and it’s something I have been looking forward to for a long time now. As the world moves (has moved?) to a much more digital platform I’m pleased we will no longer simply be producing a PDF of a print publication, but a much more up-to-date and current digital version of the magazine. Although I’m generally a digital kind of person I think print is still very important, and as such we will continue with a quarterly print version, but this will now be accompanied by a much better digital companion.

Finally, I wish you all a better January than last year, and as always, if you have something you want to share, please put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) and send in an 800 word article in the usual way (via bulletin@rcoa.ac.uk).