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Showing posts from January, 2016

Annoying acronyms and miserable mnemonics: AIDET and the H's and T's

Mnemonics can be incredibly cool. When I was in medical school there was just too much stuff to remember and memory aids were so very helpful. Most specifically I refer to the vile and inappropriate one that helped me remember the cranial nerves which I remember to this day and will not share in print. In ancient times orators used memory palaces to memorize long speeches or poems, associating words with familiar and sometimes bizarre images. All this is to say that I have nothing against a good mnemonic. Lately though, as I have struggled to memorize a new acronym which is supposed to be good for me, I've been thinking about what makes a mnemonic good and what makes one annoyingly terrible.
The most irritating mnemonic in recent experience is probably the "H's and T's" from Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). When a person's heart has ceased to be able to sustain life or blood pressure, we use a memorized sequence of interventions to resuscitate them, the A…