Several readers took me to task for last week's blog post, "A Better Way to Measure Patients' Pain.” It referred to a University of Utah Health Care initiative that explored alternatives to the 0-10 scale commonly used to measure individuals' pain levels.


A multidisciplinary team examined the issue and decided the rigid checklist approach failed to get to all the nuances of patients' discomfort. As an alternative, the team came up with a series of questions nurses now ask patients in a casual and natural way. That opens up a dialogue that's much more revealing than a numbered scale.

Understandably, some readers were frustrated that I didn't include what those questions are, so I contacted folks at University of Utah Health Care. They wouldn't supply the questions, but invited anybody who wants more information to email them at

And following up on another blog post: Last fall I wrote about Save the Children and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition asking for nominations for the first year of the REAL Awards, which honor outstanding health care professionals. The nine U.S. winners were announced on Jan. 15 at the inaugural Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit in California, which former President Bill Clinton attended.

Here are the winners' names and categories:

  • General health care: Kathryn M. Tschiegg, Orrville, Ohio 
  • Chronic disease care: Beth Baughman Dupress, M.D., Southampton, Pa.
  • Pediatric care: William Novick, M.D., Memphis, Tenn., and Robert Clifford, M.D., Charleston, S.C.
  • Hospice care: Carri Butcher, Flippin, Ark.
  • Newborn and mother care: Melissa Courtney, R.N., Lexington, Ky., and Joseph Tate, M.D., Norcross, Ga.
  • Emergency care: Donn Kropp, R.N., Redding, Calif.
     At-home care: Rhonda Dixon, West Liberty, Ky.

Winners in the global component of the REAL Awards were announced in September 2012.