In the Emergency Department, we treat a wide variety of patients, so you must learn how to harmonize with everyone from CEOs and celebrities to blue-collar workers, alcoholics, drug dealers, criminals, feisty old folks, exhausted parents, defiant teenagers, babies, and everything in between.
As a first year resident in Emergency Medicine — I have had many colleagues ask me one simple question, “What about burnout?” To be honest, I never quite understood why so many non-Emergency Medicine colleagues seem to think burnout is more likely to occur in Emergency Medicine than in other specialties. Perhaps because Emergency Medicine is so appealing, that it must be too good to be true!?
But let’s be honest, working as an ER doc is probably more stressful than you imagine — but a career in Emergency Medicine is also vastly more rewarding than you likely realize. You will have some people wrap their arms around you and not want to let go, but you’ll also have other patients who will want to rip your spleen out and eat it. At the end of the day — saving lives is arguably the most important and rewarding job in the world. As an Emergency Physician, no other specialty will give you so many opportunities to help so many people in so many ways.
So what about burnout? On average, 1 in 3 physicians are suffering from physician burnout on any given day, worldwide, regardless of specialty. In reality, one of the most common reasons for burnout in medicine, is the apparent daily trudge of a dull, monotonous and tedious routine — which is not quite the case in Emergency Medicine.
My advice to you is if you ever feel that you are in danger of burning out, reinvent yourself — without leaving medicine. Informatics, toxicology, aerospace medicine, international emergency medicine, and areas such as wilderness medicine and geriatric emergency medicine that have not even been fully developed will take you to the next level.
There’s also a million in one things one can do to avoid stress related burnout — spend time with family and friends and develop a hobby or two as that provides balance to your life. Perhaps take a vacation, and soak up some sun on the beach — that’s always made me feel great!
When all there is to life is work, it’s much easier to get despondent when work sucks. If there’s something else going on that night, the next day, or this weekend, then it’s much easier to overlook your crappy EMR, and work related stress. Just remember one thing — medicine is not a job. It is not even a career. At its heart, medicine is a calling, an art.blog comments powered by Disqus
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