Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

One Doctor’s ER Game Face

I’m going to make a button to wear at work. t’ll say “I’m really only a dick at work”.

I’ve written before about my ‘game face‘ and how it’s not me, not really.  It’s a Business Me, and it’s how I get through life at work.

(Is that a cop-out? Do I do it because it makes me more efficient, a better doctor, smoother, faster, or do I do it because it builds a bit of a wall between me and my real self and lets me get through the day without getting emotionally attached to every patient and their family?)

I’m tolerable at work, but not really lovable, and I’m okay with that.  The persona I have is what I’ve made it, and it works for me.

I was told by new faculty (fresh from 10 years at Kaiser, in my last 6 months of a 4 year ED residency, so I was arrogantly dismissive of a guy I should have sat at the feet of) that ‘you’re going to be the center of the world’ and I didn’t believe him.  3 months later fending off every single problem imaginable (parking, who gets what meals, ‘will you look at this EMS patient that’s a direct admit but you’re available and we want to involve you’, paperwork by the pound, etc) I made some changes to the Things I Will Do Gladly list, and started the lifelong project of pushing back on those things that aren’t necessary for me to be involved in.

Approachability is the key in this transformation, and it’s a fine line letting the staff know what I expect them to handle and when it’s time to come get me.  This means No Barking, a lot of education and the occasional growl.

I’m kidding myself about the button.  It’d just be for me.  I’ll wear it on the inside of my coat.

Though I may get a booth and sell them at the ACEP Scientific Assembly; I think there’d be a market amongst my ED colleagues…

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »