EM Mindset: Daniel Cabrera – The Chaos Organizer and the Fear Tamer

Author: Daniel Cabrera, MD (@cabreraERDR) // Editors: Alex Koyfman, MD (@EMHighAK) and Manpreet Singh, MD (@MPrizzleER)

This is not news, our job as Emergency Physicians is difficult, very difficult. Every shift is a complicated balancing act managing tens of patients, with multiple complaints, varying degrees of acuity and suffering. We are limited by the resources available, our brain’s ability to process complex information, but mostly by time, uncertainty and fear.

The Emergency Medicine mindset is to assess the risk, make decisions, control fear, lessen suffering, and create clarity of the chaos of our universe.

We deal with an overload of information and emotions in our clinical practice. Stimuli come from endless sources; the interaction with the patient, lab data, consultations, images, and our own inner state. The amount of information is overwhelming. The big challenge is to make sense of all these in a very constrained space and time and in a way that is scalable from the single patient encounter to running the entire department, without becoming victims ourselves.

Organizing chaos is about the context, reduction, and parsimony. We make sense of chaos every day and uncertainty is our currency. Success for us looks like finding the solution to a puzzle.

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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