One of the really fun things authors get to do when not writing is go to writer’s conferences. I like to think of it as a combination of work and pleasure. Back in the days when I was an RN, I was expected to take 30 CEUs (continuing education units) every two years in order to renew my license. Writing workshops are like CEUs in my opinion—a certain number of hours each year should be required of the aspiring and working author. There is so much to learn, so much to remember, so much to finally grasp, and other authors are happy to share their knowledge. That’s the beauty of this profession.
Since I’m always working to further my Medical Romance writing knowledge, I recently attended a Trauma and Medicine for Writers workshop at the Emerald City Writer’s Conference in Bellevue, Washington. It was given by Crista McHugh, M.D. a doctor by day and a fantasy and paranormal author by night.
Here’s a tidbit of what I learned:
Medical professionals all know that ABC is basic when assessing a patient. ABC (airway, breathing and circulation) expands to ABCDE in trauma departments. D stands for disability and E for exposure. So after a quick evaluation of the ABCs, the medical professional must note the disability – what’s involved – limbs, head, etc. (the Glasgow coma scale might be utilized here) – and they also need to know about exposure as in, where did the patient come from? Car accident? A body of water? Top of a building? You catch my drift.
This fast-talking Dr. McHugh gave a thumbnail rundown (including real pictures!) on penetrating injuries, gun shots, knife wounds, blunt force trauma, pedestrian versus car, Cardiac tamponade, concussion syndrome and even discussed autopsies! She was a wealth of knowledge, though I wish we’d had two hours instead of one.
Concussion syndrome is something that drives me nuts in books. The hero gets knocked in the head, passes out and comes to alert and ready for more action. In reality they could very well have nausea, dizziness, and headaches, suffer memory loss, have problems concentrating, light and sound sensitivity, they might be irritable, anxious and have insomnia. Instead, authors often have them making love with the heroine!
One thing I found of particular interest for us Medical Romance authors, since so many of us write pregnant characters is, elbow dislocation is common in pregnant women. Since their balance may be off due to advance pregnancy, and pregnancy naturally loosens up joints in preparation for the hips and pelvis expanding to deliver that baby, as they fall and try to stop themselves with their hands, their elbow may slip out of the joint and become dislocated. I may use this tidbit in a future story.
Now that you know how I spent my last weekend, why not share something about your job with us.
Do you have to do continuing education or have work updates in your job? Tell us about it.
Lynne Marshall’s latest book isn’t a Medical Romance, but watch for Making the Surgeon Smile next June 2013 in the Medical Romance line at Harlequin, Mills & Boon.