EM Mindset: Larissa Velez – The Unique EM Mindset

Author: Larissa Velez, MD (EM Program Director / Professor of EM, UTSW / Parkland) // Editors: Alex Koyfman, MD (@EMHighAK) and Manpreet Singh, MD (@MPrizzleER)

This submission is probably very different than the others. In general, I think many others have probably talked about how to be efficient, how to approach the undifferentiated patient, how to think about deadly diagnoses first, how to communicate, and how to deal with stress and loss. These are many of the reasons why EM physicians must learn to think differently than other specialties.

My focus is, however, on the EM mindset as it relates to longevity, avoiding burnout, having career satisfaction, and being successful not only professionally but also achieving some personal happiness. Recently, the topics of depression, substance abuse, suicide, and burn-out have been discussed extensively.

Emergency medicine poses a unique set of demands on physicians: circadian disruption, the physical demands of a shift, the mental agility needed at all times, and the resilience needed to move between emotionally demanding cases rapidly. A successful EM physician is not only clinically competent, but must be an outstanding communicator, a resourceful individual, and an effective team leader.

Be nice to everyone

The ED relies on every single person to do his/her work, and for each of those individuals to do it well. For example, if housekeeping doesn’t clean the room – you can’t see a new patient. If radiology does not read that X ray, you can’t “dispo” the patient. Every link in the ED chain must work. If you treat others well, and are polite and cordial, and professional, it is more likely that everyone will work towards the common goal.

If you are interested in reading the rest of this and other EM Mindset pieces, please see β€œAn 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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