Sunday, November 9, 2008

Studying Paramedicine as a Software Engineer

Paramedic school has been grueling giving the concomitant (bordering on comorbid) factor of work. However, that will be my last complaint on that because as a general rule, when I want to do something, I go and do it. We've finished anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, medicolegal concerns, various introductory topics, and most recently pharmocology.

We had to turn in cards on 72 drugs (of the 129 paramedics in NC could give), and I decided to make life easier for myself using a small program. LINQ-to-XML plus WPF (and some regular expressions to parse human readable dosages) allowed me to rapidly transcribe all of the useful information into an XML format. I then put together a quick XSLT file to make an OOXML file that I could print and paste to 3x5 index cards (ed: I left off side effects and had to add those by hand, wraaa!). Did I mention the program quizzes me on trade/generic names and pharmacological class? I'll try and release the quizzing features as a webpage at some point, however, my studies come first.

Right now we're having medical math beaten into us, which isn't particularly hard for those of us with strong mathematics backgrounds (ed: except when you suck at basic math). However, I noticed that many students had a hard time connecting the action of calculating a dosage with the mathematics to do the calculation. I put together a presentation to help bridge that gap, "Visualizing Medical Math" (PPTX). Hopefully this will help folks who are struggling with medical math.

(ed: for those of you without PowerPoint 2007 or access to a viewer, "Visualizing Medical Math" PDF).