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Advocacy: The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support.

the lincoln memorial

I am very excited to be attending the ACEP Leadership and Advocacy Conference this week in Washington D.C.  It took a lot of maneuvering of my schedule to be able to take the time to get away on a non-vacation month, but I think in the end it will be well worth it.  I just know that the opening series of lectures this morning left me both frightened of the future of medical care and also inspired to not just sit back and let things happen around me.

One of the early speakers reminded us that we are advocates for our patients every day.  How many times during a shift do you call an admitting service, a consult, or a primary physician and outline a plan of care which you think is in the best interest of your patient?  Now, stop and think of how many times you do something equally powerful to stand up for your profession…

Of course, during residency when we’re on off-service rotations we fight for our specialty.  In academic medicine it’s always “our team is better than your team.”  When the cardiology attending bashes the E.D. for what he calls “sloppy care” of a CHF exacerbation or when the surgery resident makes a statement about E.D. docs only being interested in “moving the meat” and not doing a full work-up, we stand up for our profession.  We argue the current literature which we follow, and we tell them some patients don’t need a CT scan to prove they have appendicitis.  Ok, who am I kidding… of course we’ll get the CT scan.

Anyway, I was pleased to hear that this year’s conference is the most attended so far, and I am looking forward to tomorrow when the real meat of the conference will begin.  From what I’ve seen, it’s proving to be a very eye-opening and worthwhile experience so far…

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