There are a number of personal attributes characterizing the professional identity of “physician.” We are dedicated to patients, committed to lifelong learning, and responsible for a variety of other professional obligations. Each requires physicians to be highly accountable – obligated or willing to accept responsibility for one’s actions. In this post we present examples of how we’ve adopted peer accountability as a strategy to help us with the myriad responsibilities and obligations at the heart of our profession. Just in time for the New Year – we challenge each of our readers to consider finding an “accountability partner” in 2020!
In March 2017, our ALiEM Wellness Think Tank launched an ambitious initiative to try to identify the prevalence rate of U.S. emergency medicine (EM) resident burnout across the country. No study to date had been done to assess this. Amazingly we got a response from over 1,500 confirmed U.S. EM residents from 193 residency programs purely through our social media, email listservs, and Wellness Think Tank outreach efforts. We measured burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS). This 22-item MBI-HSS is the most common, validated tool used to measure burnout in healthcare professionals. It assesses 3 subscale domains:
- Emotional exhaustion (EE), which means being emotionally depleted at work
- Depersonalization (DP), which means a lack of feelings or negative, cynical feelings towards others
- Personal accomplishment (PA), which is a positive sense of self-evaluation and success at work.
A combination of high EE, high DP, and/or low PA scores are correlated with burnout.1,2 This post reviews some of the highlights from our study, High Prevalence of Burnout among Emergency Medicine Residents across the US, which was recently accepted by Annals of Emergency Medicine and published online.3
On behalf of the ALiEM Wellness Think Tank (WTT), we are thrilled to announce our partnership again with Essentials of Emergency Medicine (EEM). On May 13, 2019 during the WTT Resident Wellness Day (an EEM preday event featuring acclaimed author Dr. James Dahle of White Coat Investor fame), we also will launch the first-ever Wellness Innovation Plenary Session focusing on residency-level initiatives. This is your chance, as a resident, to give an oral presentation at a national conference. Deadline: January 7, 2019.
Confronting Stress Before and After High Acuity Shifts: A Discussion with Performance Psychologist Dr. Jason Brooks
It’s almost the end of your sixth shift in a row. You are trying to finish up notes when you hear an overhead page. You find yourself in the middle of a pediatric code that has a poor outcome and you have 5 minutes to spend with the family before being pulled into another patient’s room. You have no time to address the difficult case you just encountered. As an emergency physician, this may happen on a daily basis but some cases hit closer to home. How do you recover after these shifts, and how do you prepare for the next difficult patient encounter? Members of the ALiEM Wellness Think Tank recently spoke with performance psychologist Dr. Jason Brooks about how to mend these wounds and improve performance in the workplace. We provide a summary of our conversation and link to the podcast.
We are set to wrap-up the 3rd Annual Emergency Medicine Wellness Week. The ALiEM Wellness Think Tank (WTT) collaborated with CanadiEM, ACEP, and the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) to encourage participation from EDs across North America and around the world. Many of you shared your individual and group successes, which have helped to build collective wellness across the specialty. We are proud to present some of the Wellness Week highlights, and remain hugely motivated to participate in this important movement! When you’re done reading, be sure to welcome today’s newly matched EM interns with the hashtag #WelcometoEM!
You have just signed out from one of the best shifts in your career. You feel like you were born to do this! You’re a great EM doctor! Then, you spot him, a man in a dark suit making eye contact as you walk through the lobby towards the exit. He stops and asks, “Are you Dr. About-to-get Sued?” Being named in a malpractice lawsuit is a potentially devastating, frequently unmentioned, and yet rather common event in EM. Providers may find themselves feeling isolated and ashamed, questioning their career choice regardless of the trial outcome. Members of the ALiEM Wellness Think Tank recently spoke with Dr. Gita Pensa about how to find resilience in EM despite involvement in a lawsuit. We provide the full podcast and a summary below.
This is a call to action for residents who have the creativity and passion to make life better for all trainees. The 2017 Wellness Think Tank survey of more than 1,500 EM residents found that, on average, 15 out of every 16 residents are struggling with burnout. It’s time to change that! We are looking for motivated residents to be a part of a one-of-a-kind grassroots movement to create a better and more sustainable culture within Emergency Medicine. Apply to join the 2018 Wellness Think Tank today!