Qualifications: MBBS, FACEM, Grad Cert Clin Res Methods
Position: Senior Staff Specialist, Emergency Department, Nambour Hospital; Strategic Advisory Committee Member, Emergency Medicine Foundation
Dr Thom is the Senior Staff Specialist, Emergency Department, Nambour Hospital and an EMF Strategic Advisory Committee Member.
His emergency medicine research career started with investigating the role of monitoring how much blood the heart pumps while critically ill patients are being resuscitated. His research interests have since broadened widely and include workplace stress, ladder related injuries and clinical trials.
The emergency department is the most common point of entry to the hospital, especially for acutely sick patients. Emergency department scope of practice embraces all other medical specialties and opportunities to improve patient outcomes occur in a hectic and often hostile environment. Dr Thom believes that as a profession, emergency medicine’s ability to make the best decisions for patients is a vital part of professional practice and what the community rightly expects.
Dr Thom says that patient outcomes cannot be improved without changes in treatment and the role of research is to find the right changes to make. This is what he is passionate about.
Dr Thom is supervisor for three Trainee Grants awarded by the Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Foundation. These grants investigate perceptions of stress in the workplace, ladder-related injuries, particularly the circumstances of the ladder use, and a multi-centre study examining sedation practices in behavioural disturbance (the SIESTA* study).
The workplace-related stress project aims to shed light on some of the perceived stresses of emergency department doctors and nurses. This will be done via a local and international comparison. It is hoped that sufficient information will become available to provide for specific targeted outcomes improving the welfare of emergency department staff, which will then lead to better patient outcomes. These findings may inform targeted interventions within emergency departments that will improve the delivery of emergency medicine, staff welfare and/or longevity as emergency medicine professionals often become burnt-out.
The ladder injuries investigation aims to establish the pattern of use associated with falls from ladders which – in conjunction with collaborators at Princess Alexandra Hospital, The University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology and the Product Safety Unit at the Office of Fair Trading – will hopefully lead to preventative opportunities in the community.
The EMF funding has allowed his research team the opportunity to employ research assistants to conduct data capture and, without this funding, Dr Thom says it is highly unlikely that these projects would be occurring.
Dr Thom acknowledges the role of EMF in promoting emergency medicine in Queensland and internationally. He believes this has made an amazing difference to the perception of emergency medicine as a whole and that it is the envy of many.
*Sedation for Acute Agitation in Emergency Departments Patients: Targeting Adverse Events (SIESTA)