In this light-hearted article fundamental lessons from Sesame Street songs are applied to the field of antimicrobial stewardship.
Authored By: Timothy P. Gauthier, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCIDP
Article Posted 2 January 2022
As a father of two I have spent my fair share of time watching the children’s show Sesame Street on television. When compared to many of the other shows out there for little kids today it is far and away one of the most tolerable for parents. The Sesame Street cast is great as is their procession of highly talented guests like Bruno Mars, Usher, Alicia Keys, and Gina Rodriguez.
Sesame Street episodes are full of important lessons for young children and as it turns out adults can take a few pointers too. In listening to these songs over the years I have found myself repeatedly reflecting on how their words are applicable to the fundamentals for antibiotic stewardship. Perhaps because the songs are so catchy they get stuck in your head easily. Perhaps because they really speak truths.
Now that I am getting the chance it honestly feels a bit silly, but I cannot deny that for the last ~6 years I have wanted to find time to write this. Here are 5 Sesame Street songs that also provide fundamental lessons for antibiotic prescribing.
1. Cookie Monster: “Me Want It (But Me Wait)”
Sometimes illnesses go away on their own and a “watch and wait” approach can help potentially avoid an unnecessary antibiotic course. We might want to give an antibiotic prescription, but if we wait that may be better.
2. Elmo: “Elmo’s Kindness Holiday Song”
Making smart medical decisions means working together with the healthcare team and considering the patient’s wishes. Being kind to others helps build relationships based on trust and empathy. It promotes a caring spirit and puts patients first. If we are leading with kindness, we should be well placed to make good antibiotic prescribing decisions.
3. Chris & Penguin: “Stop and Think”
It seems so simple, but this is probably the most important thing when it comes to antibiotic prescribing. Do we need antibiotics at all? What is the suspected source and organism(s)? Antibiotic prescribing should not just be a knee jerk reaction for ordering vancomycin and Zosyn. Whether initiating a course or doing an antibiotic time out, it’s essential to stop and think before proceeding.
4. Grover: Super Grover 2.0 Intro
He observes. He questions. He investigates. He shows up.
If we are going to get the right diagnosis, drug, dose, and duration, we need to be like Super Grover.
5. The Count: “Song of the Count”
[Voice of The Count] One day of therapy. Two days of therapy. Three days of therapy. Ah-ah-ah!
Okay, so maybe The Count is not talking about duration of antibiotics, but every day counts for both efficacy and toxicity. Shorter is better when acceptable. Here is a great resource on the topic.
You got to the end! Now go click on at least one of these songs so it gets stuck in your head and causes you to reflect on how it applies to safe and effective antibiotic use 😄
RECOMMENDED TO YOU