Making the Most of 2016

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We asked our contributors how they’d like to change their practice for the better in the new year. Here’s what they had to say.

“I resolve to grin and bear it”
1. I will not swear when I discover that I have entered the wrong CPOE orders on the wrong patient.
2. I will not swear at the computer when I have to log on for the 100th time during a shift because it had “timed out.”
3. I will smile politely when a patient complains of 10/10 pain and is sitting there eating cheetos.
4. I will not scream at nurses when they “forget” to do something routine, like getting a urine.
5. I will not complain bitterly when a patient triaged with severe low back pain is sitting there on a gurney fully clothed with overcoat and boots still on.
6. I will restrain the urge to swear back at drunks when they scream obscenities at me.
7. I will restrain the urge to laugh out loud when a family member confirms “full code” status for an elderly demented septic patient with a feeding tube, a foley, and bed sores.
8. I will restrain the urge to scream through the phone at the nursing home nursing supervisor for sending the demented elderly patient for a psychiatric consult because he screamed at a nurse.
– Michael Carius, MD

I resolve to embrace eulogy virtues over resume virtues
Once in a blue moon I get shaken awake by something I read.  In this case it was a David Brooks article in the New York Times called The Moral Bucket List. I read it on a plane headed to a conference to enhance my career by improving my medical knowledge, my teaching skills, my social and medical network. All important but all self-directed, all self-centered. My New Year’s Resolution is to be more like the people in the article David Brooks speaks so eloquently about – to display true compassion for others, to attempt to achieve “generosity of spirit,” to embrace eulogy virtues over resume virtues. I know I’ll come up short but I’ll keep trying.
– Mike Breyer, MD


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I resolve to try my best to carry the torch for EPs where I can in policy circles
My goals this upcoming year are to continue to discover, research, and disseminate work on new innovative approaches in acute and emergency care, participate as much as I can in interesting work, mentor others, and to try my best to carry the torch for emergency physicians where I can in policy circles in DC.
– Jesse Pines, MD

I resolve to apply the rules of three
I teach the introduction to clinical medicine class to the first and second year medical students. When we teach them decision making, we always make them come up with a differential of at least 3 things. That way, even if the diagnosis seems obvious they have to pause and think about what else could be going on. I am reflecting back on the near-misses I have seen or been a part of, when we arrived at a premature conclusion about what was going on and overlooked or discounted information that did not fit our theory. I think I should apply the rule of three to myself this coming year. At least to ask the question: is there anything else that this could be?
– Amy Levine, MD

I resolve to help healing professionals attend to their own health needs
When we lose more than a doctor a day to suicide, something is seriously wrong with our own safety net. In 2016 I am increasing my efforts towards creating a world where healing professionals are allowed to attend to our own health needs, just as we would those of our most cherished patients.  And where we can feel safe in doing so, without judgment, stigma, or risk to professional reputations or livelihoods. www.physiciansuicide.com
– Louise B. Andrew, MD


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I resolve to provide clinicians with more and better ways to stay up to date
For my New Year’s resolution I will try harder to improve the care of our patient’s by providing clinicians with more and better ways to stay up-to-date.  Only when our patients are provided with consistent evidence-based care will their treatment be optimized.   I want our educational endeavors to substantially contribute to the knowledge base of EM clinicians.
– Richard Bukata, MD

I resolve to bring back the excitement and drama to research
I think many residents feel put off by academics and EM research because even good projects often limp along or stall. My goal this year is to bring back the research excitement and drama, and teach them the thrill and the joy of a well-executed research project.  Perhaps I can have seniors with completed projects put together time-lines to show how it can be done and emphasize the light at the end of the tunnel.  I would love to hear other ideas on this as well as other strategies to encourage residents to enter academia!
– Lauren Southerland, MD


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