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    Residents & Their Role in Antibiotic Resistance

    63% of infectious disease doctors have treated patients with infections that did not respond to any antibiotics.  That’s almost two thirds of all physicians! It’s clear that antibiotic resistance is a public health threat that has grown since the turn of the century.

    It’s generally agreed upon that the best defense against this concerning trend is to “Give the right patient the right medication at the right dose through the right route at the right time.” Because physician training varies from facility to facility, prescribing patterns might not be consistent among physicians, specifically among residents, who rely on attending physicians and hospital policy to help supplement their clinical knowledge.

    A team of researchers from Children’s National Health System wanted to identify the level of variation among their residents who they consider to be the first line of defense in the fight against antibiotic resistance—after all, residents often decide the initial course of treatment for a patient. The team, led by Geovanny F. Perez, M.D., developed a survey to identify two things:

    1. The level of knowledge residents possess about the most appropriate treatments for the five most common pediatric infections (according to prescription guidelines).
    2. The means by which the residents acquire their knowledge.

    The results demonstrated that many of the residents followed prescribing guidelines for 3 of the 5 common ailments, while the course of suggested treatment varied more widely among 2 of the 5. It was also clear that many residents rely on mentors for guidance in their daily decisions, including antibiotic treatment decisions.

    The team concluded that antibiotic stewardship programs and additional intensive antibiotic training could help standardize antibiotic treatment courses for infections.

    What are your thoughts about this idea? Do you believe residents play a large role in fighting antibiotic resistance and, if so, how should training be improved to make sure they’re following prescription guidelines?

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