This week the Wellness Think Tank is launching a resident wellness survey for Emergency Medicine residency training programs across the United States. We want 100% of EM residents to complete this important survey and we need your help! Check out 5 reasons why you should take our survey TODAY, if you are a U.S EM resident!
When I got back home from taking [my board exams], having all these [negative] feelings swirling through my head, I remember driving up and seeing my wife and baby sitting on the porch and suddenly being like, “Isn’t this what life is all about? Is it really about studying for an exam? Is it really about pushing yourself to get triple-boarded or do this or that within medicine? I mean, isn’t THIS what it’s about? Having a wife and a child, a family to call your own, aren’t these the things that are most important that we should value?” After that point, after seeing them on the porch and over the next couple weeks, things really started to change for me.
— Haney Mallemat, MD
It seems that the 2017 year is quickly shaping up to be one of grassroots action both politically and now in emergency medicine (EM). On May 15, 2017, we are launching a joint initiative FOR residents BY residents with Essentials of EM, EM Residents’ Association (EMRA), and the Wellness Think Tank. This event will serve to not only help centralize the conversations about wellness and resiliency, but identify some actionable items and build toolkits to help chip away at this towering problem. Deadline to sign up: March 31, 2017. Join us!
The second annual Emergency Wellness Week is coming to a close. This week we featured wellness initiatives that you can use to boost wellness in your emergency department, talked about the importance of debriefing, talked to the White Coat Investor about financial wellness, and shared ways to improve wellness in just 30 minutes! Through the collaboration of ALiEM, The Wellness Think Tank, ACEP, CAEP, HippoEM, and CanadiEM- we hope that you have learned some techniques to improve your own wellness and that you will carry some of the techniques with you through the rest of the year!
“One of the residents that I was working with was yelled at once by somebody else because he had cried while giving a family bad news. I think everyone knows when you’re giving them bad news; it’s not like a big secret. You maintaining a great deal of composure doesn’t change that fact. I think that we’re allowed to be human. If we force ourselves not to be human or have any degree of human emotion, that’s obviously not putting us on the path to wellness and certainly if we force other people not to be human that’s not putting either them or us on the path to wellness.”
—Ilene A. Claudius, MD
Breaking bad news to patients and families is a fact of life for an emergency physician. More than 300,000 patients die in emergency departments each year from either traumatic or nontraumatic cardiopulmonary arrest, and an even greater number are diagnosed with a new life-threatening or life-altering illness, such as cancer, stroke, or traumatic brain injury.1 We stand at the front lines for these patients and families when they are first confronted with death or their own mortality. It is up to us at these moments, not their specialists or family physicians, to comfort and support them in a time of need. While intensely fulfilling at times, this type of demanding emotional support can also be incredibly draining in an environment that never sleeps and never stops moving.
“The hardest thing for me was trying to find time to do things aside from being a resident. When you’re working six 12 hours shifts in a week, there’s only so much time left in the day to do anything else. Especially in the winter, you wake up, you get to work before the sun comes up, you work a 12 hour shift, you leave, and the sun’s gone. By the time you get home, you have enough time to wash the grime off, shovel a sandwich in your mouth, and pass out. And there was nothing else except for that.”
– Anand Swaminathan, MD
Unless you are living under a rock, many healthcare and public media platforms are talking about the insidious problems with burnout in the health professions world. One thought leader out there is especially vocal about wellness, resiliency, and mindfulness — Dr. Zubin Damania (alter ego: ZDoggMD). For instance, do you know the difference between empathy and compassion, and why that is important to differentiate this as a clinician? We were honored to have him join the Wellness Think Tank to field questions that we peppered at him, specifically around resident wellness.