Night Shift: Let’s Talk

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“Hello everyone, this is Dr. Mark Plaster, Senior Executive Editor of Emergency Physicians Monthly and you’re listening to EPM Talk, where real emergency physicians aka ER docs “get real “ about issues that affect our personal as well as professional lives.”

And so begins every installment of our new podcast of EPM Talk. It’s a great way to go a little deeper with some of our editors, contributors and key opinion leaders in emergency medicine. Most of the time it’s educational, but all of the time it is just fascinating. Let me give you an example.


Most of you know Nick Genes MD, PhD. He’s been on our editorial board for years. There are a lot of smart doctors. But Nick is really smart. He’s the ‘informatics guy’ at ACEP. I wanted to talk to him about the future of medical informatics in emergency medicine. But I found out some really crazy stuff about him too. Did you know that during his research days he was involved in genetically growing a human ear on the back of a mouse!!!  That’s mad scientist stuff. And he tries to come off as so, pardon me Nick, ‘science nerdy.’  But he actually serves as a concussion expert for the National Football League. I can just imagine him running out on the field on a Sunday afternoon in front of all the cameras to examine a $100 million dollar quarterback who has just been hammered by a 380 pound charging rhino aka defensive lineman. He looks into the blank stare as the whole franchise holds its collective breath and casually says, “Take him off the grill, boys. He’s done for the day.”  And then returns to eating a bag of Cheetos. You have to hear the whole interview. It’s great.

Then there was the interview with Judy Tintinalli, MD. She has to be the most famous emergency physician in the whole world. Pop music has Madonna. But emergency medicine has Tintinalli. I know you are blushing, Judy. But it’s true. Her name is associated with the repository of all knowledge in emergency medicine for good reason. She literally wrote the book!  Ok, maybe she didn’t “write” it all, but her fingerprints are all over it. And she knows everybody in emergency medicine all over the world. More importantly, everyone knows her. I have a hard time nailing her down because of her overseas speaking engagements from Poland, Cuba, Columbia, you name it. She’s been there teaching and spreading the message of quality emergency medical care.

But here’s the crazy part. With that kind of fame you’d think she’d be stuck up, you know   “if you want an interview with me have your people get in touch with my people, darling. Oh, and yes, you can kiss my ring”. But no, she is the most down to earth, humble, easy to talk to, medical genius icon I’ve ever known. I didn’t want to stop talking to her. But I don’t really have to because she’ll be back for many future installments.


You’ll love the podcasts with Bill Sullivan, MD, JD. And being a practicing lawyer (as well as a practicing EP), he has an opinion on everything. I like to get with him any time we two can coordinate our hectic schedules. Being a lawyer myself, getting him on the line we can tell all the slimy lawyer jokes that we want. But more importantly we can give you the back story on contracts you should never sign, hospitals you should never work for, and medical charts that you have to treat like a claymore mine. And speaking of land mines, our discussion of what to look for in the perfect job is a must listen for anyone who is looking for a new job in EM.  Learn it now or experience all the catastrophes that I did in my career.

Stay tuned, though, because Bill and I will be talking about all the big issues discussed at this year’s ACEP Scientific Assembly. And unlike all the other political types, neither Bill nor I need to suck up to anybody at ACEP. So we will be telling it like it is. Tune in and you can give your two cents as well. We will be doing follow-ups and share comments from listeners.

One of the most informative interviews I’ve done recently, and I’ll do many follow up installments I assure you, was with Salim Rezaie. Anyone who has been following the incredible work he has been doing at RebelEM knows that he is part of the new generation of national opinion leaders in emergency medicine. I’ll be honest, when I interviewed him, he had so much information at his fingertips that I frequently had to slow him down and ask for explanations of what he had just told me. He reminds me of a young Jerry Hoffman. I encourage you to watch for follow up interviews with Salim. You’ll come away with new and impactful information every time.

And speaking of Jerry Hoffman, who can forget the Rick and Jerry Show?  Rick Bukata and Jerry Hoffman’s early podcasts were the perfect combination of cutting edge research and practical application with a large measure of cynical snarkiness thrown in to keep it entertaining. My interview with Rick Bukata was no match for Jerry’s intellect, but Rick had the same honest practical approach to emergency medicine practice that he has always exhibited. Sometimes it’s easy to get down in the weeds on some issues and forget the purpose of all the research. But Rick has a way of bringing us back to everyday reality and application of even the most esoteric research findings. Don’t miss that interview. Hopefully there will be many more.


And speaking of many more, EPM Talk is a great way to listen and learn while you are driving to work, on the treadmill or bike or just an alternative to endless bickering that the national news has become. The podcasts will cover a wide range of topics and guests. Have you ever considered joining the military reserve like I did?  Whether you are young or not so young, you might find the upcoming podcast on opportunities to serve in this role at least interesting, if not motivating. If you would like your spouse to hear what it’s like to be a night shift doc, tune in as from time to time, I’ll be reading chapters from Night Shift: Stories from the Life of an ER doc. After all these aren’t just my stories, they are all our stories.

If you get a chance to go to ACEP this year you’ll see hundreds of new products, services and professional opportunities. Some of these inventions and opportunities are the result of inventions or novel ideas by our fellow emergency physicians. I’ll be giving these fledgling entrepreneurs a longer form to talk about their ideas, inventions and businesses. You might find them practical, usable or maybe even inspirational for your own ideas for something that would make the lives and professional practices our colleagues better. And you are not going to hear about these ideas anywhere else.

I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions for interesting topics to discuss or people to interview. So join us at EPM Talk. It’s where real ER docs get real.


FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE EDITOR Dr. Plaster has been an emergency physician for more than 30 years, working exclusively night shifts for the past 20 years in emergency departments across the country. During that period, he joined the U.S. Navy and served two tours in Iraq. Dr. Plaster is the founder and executive editor of Emergency Physicians Monthly and the founder of Plaster Publishing.

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