EM Collective Wisdom: Simon Carley

Author: Simon Carley, MD (@EMManchester, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary / Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital) // Edited by: Alex Koyfman, MD (@EMHighAK) and Brit Long, MD (@long_brit)

1) Why still Emergency Medicine?

After 20 years I think I’m not too bad at it 😉 I still love the variety, the interactions, the challenges, the teams and the patients. We still have the best stories in Medicine and I’m constantly learning. I’m never bored and still look forward to my clinical shifts.

2) Most impactful case. 

There are many. In the UK we have strict confidentiality rules so can’t talk too specifically, but there are many cases where I feel that the ED made a real difference. Seeing patients walk out of the hospital after life-threatening illness and injury is always rewarding. In contrast, in terms of true impact, then that immediately makes me think of cases when things did not go well as they stick in the memory more and arguably influence our practice more than they should.

3) Most important career decision leading to satisfaction.

Our annualised hours rota designed by Craig Ferguson. This transformed the way we work and our ability to control our lives.

4) What does future of EM look like?

The future is fragmentation into more and more specialised departments and areas of practice. Not every EP will be permitted or able to do everything. Larger centres will become more specialised and fewer EPs will see enough to retain expertise in resuscitation.

5) Greatest achievement / why giving back is important.

Maintaining a really great family life throughout training and consultant posts. My wife is a Professor of medical education and a Consultant Ophthalmologist so we’ve both worked hard to get where we are, but we still put family first, always.

In medicine my greatest achievement is arguably for others to define. It’s probably a ring removal video on YouTube with 3.8 million views! Personally I hope that I’ve managed to spend enough time teaching others to enthuse and improve clinical care across my local patch and now internationally through #FOAMed and the St. Emlyn’s project.

6) Favorite failure.

Failing to say no. I know everyone says that we should get better at turning opportunities down but my entire career has been based on saying ‘oh go on then’ to weird, wonderful and wacky opportunities. It’s always worth taking a risk and seeing what happens when opportunities arise. Quite a few of them will fail but so what. Try and try again, but give most opportunities a try if they are offered.

7) One thing you would change about our field.

In the UK I would make it easier for consultants to move between specialties and to dual accredit to match the needs of their patients and not some antiquated silo’d system of specialties.

8) Something that you love that has indirectly impacted your EM career.

I have grown to love travelling and the opportunities it has presented. As an EP we are part of a global brand of like-minded clinicians. If you love to travel then EM is a great specialty. Not only that, but travel in itself makes us better clinicians. Seeing how medicine is practiced in different countries, systems and health economies makes you question your own practice and can lead to real change. It’s too easy to keep doing things the same way that we always did. Travel upsets the status quo and opens our eyes to new ways to practice.

3 people you’d like to see fill this out

1) Jenny Beck-Esmay

2) Natalie May

3) Caroline Leech

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