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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*

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