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In this series we asked undergraduate students what questions they had for physicians and nurses. We will be posting new questions each week. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date, or follow us on Facebook to ask a question of your own.

Second Question: When a very difficult/rare case comes to you, how do you handle not being able to give all the answers needed or sought by your patients?

Dr. Elaine Reno (ER Physician): This is true in all aspects of medicine. No doctor knows all of the answers. It is best to reference a literature, for guidance, refer patients to various specialty, and be up front and honest. We are just beginning to learn the human body and there is a lot we do not know.

Taryn Ketels (Registered Nurse in Emergency Department): I will make sure that the nurse or physician have answered the questions the best to their ability. I will tell them that we cannot solve it today but we will set you up with people who can and that will follow up with you to find the solution.

Benjamin Lantow (Registered Nurse in ED, Paramedic, Search and Rescue): It is about finding the right resources – another colleague, social work, or another physician. We have plenty of resources to offer them and we will try to find the right solution.

Dr. Stephanie Nill (First Year Anesthesiologist, MD): Checking my sources, referring to other colleagues, reassure them that I am doing everything I can to answer all of their questions.

Kit Lein (Registered Nurse in Emergency Department): At our facility we all have different specialties and we can help the patient get plugged into the system in order to get the answer for what they are asking.

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