We cannot excel in all areas

At the end of our neonatal resuscitation seminar, we had a practical and written exam. The practical exam required the student to demonstrate, in front of the group, the skills of warming, drying and stimulating the mannequin. They then were expected to give breaths and chest compressions.

I was very strict on passing criteria and initially failed 9 of 12 students. Some had small mistakes and others had more egregious errors. After every person had a turn, the ones who failed had a second chance. This time only 2 of 9 failed.

The 2 went to the back of the room and had a private tutorial. When they returned, the first student quickly passed. The other student stepped forward and was extremely nervous. His hands were shaking, he was stuttering and sweat was pouring from his head.

Despite his adrenalin rush, he passed too.

Afterwards, they took a difficult written test. Just before we concluded the session, I was pleased to announce that our anxious student received the highest score.

His wide grin could have been seen from a mile away.

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