It’s been my experience that conferences are often like great big pep rallies, except usually the night or day following the pep rally the big game happens. Keeping motivation and spreading it tends to be more difficult when it comes to motivating people towards advocacy. I decided that this time I would be prepared for my trip back home. I loaded up with copies of the EMRA Advocacy Handbook, and filled my head with information before departing D.C., but it seems that I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been.
Once home, I found that by and large the residents that I spoke to could largely be grouped into one of two classes: 1) Those who wish that the knew more about health policy and health care legislation, but didn’t know where to find it, or 2) Those who were glad that I enjoyed “that stuff”, but it wasn’t for them.
The first group, I’m sure all of us reading this blog are familiar with; If it isn’t us now, it was us at some point in our careers. What I found funny was that I found more interest in the latter group. Many of them because I knew well enough to know that the DID have a stance on health policy. Most were surprised when they learned that many of the things that interested them not only “counted” as advocacy, but were discussed at the conference. Whether the interest was EMS diversion, patient literacy, or on call coverage, each person had an advocacy interest; Most of them thought that their interest fell outside of the lines.
Additionally, many complained that too often in residency we get so caught up in treating the patient, doing paperwork and making rounds that we neglect the non-clinical aspects of medicine. Just as how EM was left out of the EMTALA talks years ago, this goes on in hospital administration today. The sentiment seemed to be “we don’t know how, we don’t have time, so we don’t.” This made me reflect on my biggest fault. I an terribly guilty of the “If I Don’t Do It, No One Will” mentality. It dawned upon me that there are many people who are ready to step up and fill in the big roles; including the resident level. However as residents we are new to the field and what many of us need is someone who will show us the way. Admittedly, one of my strengths is in seeking out new opportunities; however, because if my aforementioned fault I often kept them to myself. As my residency continues it is my goal to pass those opporunities on to others for the betterment of myself, my peers and our collective careers.