As part of a series on Faculty Heroes, I wanted to highlight Dr. Stacey Poznanski (Director of EM Undergraduate Education and Assistant Professor of EM at Wright State University), who has done amazing things in EM. Most recently I had the pleasure of co-presenting at the 2013 International EM Teaching Course with Stacey at our Powerpoint Resuscitation workshop. The following are some of her thoughtful words of wisdom for those interested in EM, education, and academics.
1. Why take on the role of clerkship director?
Why not?! Working with students is refreshing, and I have the opportunity to shape a student’s initial impression of EM. I love watching their brain light bulbs click on when something they’ve only read about comes to life. They are excited about education and keep me on my toes with curiosity. In addition, being a CD has opened up a world of talented people to me, from my co-Clerkship Directors at Wright State to my colleagues in the Clerkshp Directors in EM (CDEM). There is so much energy, collaboration, and innovation in the world of medical education, and I feel at home with this group of teachers and learners.
2. What advice do you have to senior residents and junior faculty about EM, education, and/or academics?
On Time Management:
- Figure out a way that works for you. Getting Things Done, by David Allen and Inbox Zero have helped me (nothing to disclose here, unfortunately).
- Double dip. Ensure the things that take up your time count for more than one thing (e.g. Find a hobby that both you and a loved one enjoy, so you can spend time with them while also doing something you love. Turn projects into papers to double your productivity.)
- Have a “Yes” jar. We are all busy and often tell our families, “No, I can’t do that right now.” Instead, say “Yes, we’ll do that later.” Keep your promise by writing it down and putting it into a jar. Have “Yes Days” where you and your family do things from the jar (an idea from Parents Magazine).
- Support the economy and hire someone for your housework or other time-consuming chores.
“Your kids don’t care who folds their socks, but they care who takes time to read them a book.”
— Brilliant words of Kathy Clem, the first president for the Academy of Women in Academic EM (AWAEM)
- If you have an inkling to teach, explore it. If you find joy in this role, seek someone out who can help show you the ropes to see if there is a career in it for you. You won’t be sorry!
- Ask questions and learn to recognize what you DON’T know, which is often more important than knowing what you DO know.
- Show up and network. The collaborations are the best part of this job and you’ll make some lifelong friends in the process.
- Have more than one mentor.
- Become an expert at these two essential skills in education: stellar presentations and quality feedback. Your learners will thank you.
3. Who were your mentors, and what was one thing you learned from him/her/them?
- Corey Heitz, MD: As my predecessor at Wright State University (WSU), he showed me the ropes, and set me up for success. He introduced me to CDEM and taught me to think outside the box when it comes to education.
- Gloria Kuhn, DO: Since the day we met at the ACEP Teaching Fellowship, she has been a guiding light, a beacon of support, and mentor in every sense of the word. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from Gloria is to believe in myself.
“We can do it all, though maybe not all at once.”
— Gloria Kuhn, DO
4. What are you working on this month?
I have many hats in addition to being a Clerkship Director:
- Curriculum Design: I am Chair of WSU’s EM Residency Curriculum Committee and of the School of Medicine’s Wright Curriculum Advanced Doctoring Committee. We are redesigning based on theories of instructional design to include cutting-edge and interactive education techniques.
- Newsletter Design: I turned a hobby into something academically productive by becoming the editor and designer of both AWAEM Awareness and The Voice of CDEM, newsletters for each organization. I do these as the Chair of the Communications Committee for both academies.
- Presentation Design: In collaboration with Drs. Tyson Pillow and Michelle Lin, we are creating workshops to teach the theories and practice of evidence-based presentation design for medical educators. With the blog, Presentation Design for Medical Educators, and workshops around the country (The International Faculty Development at Teaching Course, CORD & ACGME), we are improving Med Ed presentations one slide at a time.
- Time Design: I recently was awarded the opportunity to attend the 2013 Early-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar, a week-long course by the AAMC. Highly recommended. Among many other things, I learned some great tips on time management and the elusive work-life balance. It’s a work in progress, but my husband, daughter and sanity are thanking me for it.
- Publication Design (i.e. research & writing):
- Applying the Milestones to undergraduate medical education
- Writing a chapter on pulmonary disease in the new book, Gender & Sex in Acute Care
- Revising the second edition of the fabulous CDEMCurriculum.org.
5. What’s this I hear about AWAEM?
The Academy for Women in Academic Emergency Medicine (AWAEM) is an academy of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM). It is a phenomenal group of strong women whose primary goal is to support women in our specialty. When faced with problems, we find solutions. Our current president, Esther Choo, MD, MPH said it best as she accepted her new position
“AWAEM gives me the strength to do what I do everyday.”
— Esther Choo, MD MPH
6. Any other insights or behind the scenes stories to share?
Not all paths are straight… I started out in OB/GYN. I am a firm believer in learning from choices that had less than superior results, so that I may capitalize on future opportunities. The extra year of training was beneficial clinically, and also allowed for perfect timing to attend a brand new EM residency program at the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) and then onto the Academic/Faculty Development Fellowship at Wright State. Had I gone directly into EM, neither of those opportunities would have been available. I am thankful everyday for the winding road.
9. What’s your pet peeve in medicine or life in general?
- Pet peeve in medicine = Paperwork
- Pet peeve in life = Time moves at the same speed, no matter what I’m doing.