Writing protocol protocol

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This page describes protocol, or, how to do things with QueerCare. You should check how to read protocol well if you're new to QueerCare.

QueerCare uses a system of principles, policies, and protocols. For a description of what these mean and how they relate to each other, please see the resource Structure of QueerCare Documentation.

Protocol in QueerCare describes how to do a task. These can be aimed externally, such as most of the care, advocacy and First Aid protocol (eg. Activated Charcoal Protocol), or more about how to carry out a task within QueerCare, such as the How Safeguarding Leads and Deputy Leads Respond To Safeguarding Concerns Protocol.

Protocol passes through three stages:

  • Draft protocol is non-authoritative, generally being worked on by two or three people actively, to produce a definitive suggestion.
  • Review protocol is under review- if it contains medical information, this means passing it to healthcare professionals for review, and is always being looked at by everyone in the QueerCare slack, and edited for clarity, specificity, and accuracy. Protocol in this stage is best used unless other, definitive protocols exist from other organisations.
  • Live protocol has undergone review and is considered canonical. It outlines exactly how to do something in QueerCare.

When to write protocol

New protocol should be written where there is important information about how to do a task that is frequently done within QueerCare, which should be done the same or similarly across all parts of the network: medicine, for example, or safeguarding. It should also describe the process of managing the network: how to do dispatch, for example.

What to do before writing new protocol

You must check if the protocol has been written or if you're duplicating a protocol that can be reused first. Look at Category:Protocol, Category:Review protocol, Category:Draft protocol to do this.

You should also check Category:Resources, Category:Review resources, and Category:Draft resources in case it has been classed as a resource.

How to write new protocol

  • Create a new page and give it an appropriate title.
    • To create a new article on the wiki, first log in. Type the title of the new article into the search box and click the red link, or follow an existing red link from another page. Then, click the 'create' button on the empty page.
    • Protocol titles should end in the word 'protocol'. For example, if you are writing a protocol on resurrecting the dead, you would title it Resurrecting the dead protocol and not Protocol for resurrecting the dead.
  • Paste the protocol template below into the page you just created, and fill it out.
{{draft protocol}}

[Describe the protocol you're writing]

== When to [do thing]==

[Describe the circumstances where you would do the thing, and reasons you should not do this]

== What to [do before doing thing]==

[Describe what to do before you do the thing]

== How to [do thing] ==

[Describe how to do the thing]

== What to do after [doing thing] ==

[Describe what to do after doing the thing]
You can also use the simplified template:
{{draft protocol}}

[Describe the protocol you're writing]

== How to [do thing] ==

[Describe how to do the thing]

If the protocol relates to the COVID-19 crisis, you should use the COVID template: {{covid}}.

Must, should and can

While filling it out, bear in mind that must, should, and can have specific meanings. With that in mind:

  • Use must sparingly - it should only be used for strongly evidenced protocols. If you use must, it must be based on either broad consensus experience of those receiving the care you describe, or broad medical consensus which has not received objection from those who are given care.
    • For example:

      You must put on gloves when approaching a scene.

    • You can use must to specify using one member of a list. For example:

      You must either wear gloves and remove them after handling the object or wash your hands thoroughly after touching the object if gloves are not available.

    • If it is possible to do the task well without doing something described with a must statement, you must not use 'must'.
  • Use should to describe actions that are strongly recommended - for example, offering food and drink to a person before you go to advocate for them. Most actions outside of immediate first aid should be should statements.
  • Use can for suggestions, learned from one or two times carrying out the task, which you think may help.

Use the red flag template {{Redflag|[Describe the red flag]}} for lines in the protocol which require urgent escalation, such as calling an ambulance.

After you have written a new protocol and saved it, it will appear in the draft protocols category. Post a link into the #protocols] or [#covid-protocols] channel of Slack, and ask for feedback and help editing it. Use Slack threads to keep discussion of it in the channel, without sending unnecessary notifications.

Style guide

This wiki runs on MediaWiki software, which uses a markup language called WikiText. Text formatting is described on the MediaWiki website, with subpages on links and lists.

A draft protocol does not have to be perfectly spelled and formatted. We can fix this while the protocol is undergoing review.

Generally speaking, you should write protocols:

  • in the second person (address yourself to the reader using the word 'you')
  • in short sentences, without too many clauses
    • if a sentence is (roughly) longer than two lines, you should consider splitting it.
    • if the clauses of a sentence are only loosely related, you should split it.
  • using modal verbs (this includes the keywords must, should and can)
  • using bullet point lists
    • bullet points should be short and make only one point
    • you should put the main instruction on a top-level bullet *, and clarifications, conditions, caveats and other notes on a lower level **
    • if you are defining a term, you should use the definition environment: ;term: definition

You should also judiciously use '''bold text''' to draw the eye to important parts of the protocol. This helps a reader who is skimming a protocol to see the most important parts.

If you need to cite sources, you should use the cite utility described in citing sources protocol.

How to comment on protocol in draft or review

Post your comments in the #protocol channel as a comment on the thread for the protocol. Try to find something positive in the protocol to comment on, rather than just making solely negative remarks. A good mnemonic is "shit sandwich", i.e.:

  1. First say something positive (a slice of wholesome "bread"). Make sure it's sincere and specific.
  2. Then make your constructive point (some "shit" you think could be better). Be as precise as you can about what the problem is and how it could be fixed.
  3. Finish with something positive (another slice of wholesome "bread"). Again, aim for sincerity and specificity.

This is to ensure that the people working on the protocol are not simply bombarded with its flaws, but are also praised for their efforts.

What to do after writing new protocol, and you think it should go to review

When everyone working on the initial draft of the protocol thinks it can be moved out of draft and into review, replace the {{draft protocol}} tag with a {{review protocol}} tag.

If it's in need of medical review,, add the {{medical review}} tag at the top of it as well. (Ask for :glove: emoji reacts if it's OK, and :no_entry: if it should be held.)

What to do when you think protocol is ready to move out of review

When you think protocol is ready to move out of review, comment in the thread of that protocol and also send that message to the slack channel in question (using the checkbox to the bottom left of the compose box). Then:

  • Ask whether people think it's good to move out of review. (Ask for :glove: emoji reacts if it's ok, and :no_entry: if it should be held.)
    • The list of protocols in review should be included in the daily digest, with links to the relevant slack discussion. If the protocol was announced in the digest and it's been at least 24 hours since then, you can assume that everyone has had an opportunity to raise objections if they have any.
  • Check all doctors and nurses who commented have had their feedback incorporated,
  • If it has had medical review, check with one of the following people that it's good to go:
    • Ada

If that's all passed, change the {{review protocol}} tag to a {{protocol}} tag.