EM Mindset: Jordana Haber – The Unique Skills

Author: Jordana Haber, MD (@JoJoHaber – EM Attending Physician, Maimonides Medical Center) // Edited by: Alex Koyfman, MD (@EMHighAK) and Manpreet Singh, MD (@MPrizzleER)

In a given shift, emergency physicians are called upon to make numerous critical decisions, often managing multiple patients simultaneously with a variety of ailments and complaints, all within the walls of the chaotic emergency room. How do emergency physicians learn to remain calm and make the proper urgent decisions in the everyday milieu?

The emergency medicine mindset consists of a series of unique skills, which we must understand, develop, master, and teach.

Primary Obligations

Emergency physicians have several important obligations: resuscitation of the critical patient, ruling out emergency diagnoses, patient care, proper disposition, and service to the public. Expert physicians prioritize the sickest patients first and allocate resources appropriately.  They are prepared that at any given moment a new patient could arrive that needs their immediate attention. The emergency physician’s primary obligation is to tend to emergencies. For each patient who is evaluated, the priority is resuscitation. Life-threatening emergencies are addressed above all else. Emergency medicine doctors are the experts in managing emergencies of all specialties, and are best equipped to recognize life-threatening diagnoses.

Serving the Public

Emergency care professionals are at the forefront of medicine when it comes to responding to mass casualty, infectious outbreaks, and unanticipated natural disasters. In addition, they know their role in patient care and patient satisfaction. Suturing lacerations, providing education and reassurance about the common cold, tending to patients that otherwise would lack access to care, are all part of the everyday job and the emergency medicine mindset.

If you are interested in reading the rest of this and other EM Mindset pieces, please see “An Emergency Medicine Mindset,” a collection evaluating the thought process of emergency physicians. This book is available as ebook and print on Amazon.

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