Posts Tagged empractice

Your Opinion is Important to Us

Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP, ACEP Past President

I would like to personally invite you to become a member of the Emergency Medicine Practice Research Network – EM-PRN. Becoming a member is simple; just click on this link and answer a brief survey. It will take less than five minutes. We want to know if you are seeing patients with chronic pain, we want to know if you are experiencing medication shortages and how you are coping. We want to know how you practice. YOUR ANSWERS will provide ACEP with essential information for our advocacy in Washington and improving emergency care. To stay a member, all you need TO DO is to agree that you will complete 3-4 surveys, five minutes or less, each year.

Membership at this time is only open to ACEP members, residents, attendings and life members. Sorry, we cannot as yet accommodate non-members or medical students. Many other specialities have built practice research networks. Pediatrics has had one for more than a decade. They started small, like us. They have found that getting data from physicians on the front lines is often very different than getting it from inner city, teaching hospitals. Once you join EM-PRN, you will be able to do much more than just give opinions to survey questions. We want to submit ideas for research projects and survey questions that YOU would be interested in. Our group will pick the more interesting and the most popular IDEAS for the next survey. So you not only will be providing answers, you’ll be designing the questions.

Right now and for the next few years, EM-PRN will be largely surveys. Eventually, we will likely want to grow to collect some data. For example, IN THE FUTURE we might want to monitor the number of patients seen with chronic pain in emergency departments. You would simply count the actual number of patients you see during a single shift (no names, no identifiers) and submit it to ACEP.

We could then monitor this number over time to see if it is increasing, decreasing or staying the same. The members of EM-PRN will help direct what research projects we consider and will be acknowledged on any publication. Members will also receive the results of any project ahead of publication. So in the time it has taken you to read this Blog, YOU could contribute to advancing our knowledge of the real practice of emergency medicine. Join now.



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Productive Anxiety, Or: Caffeine? Yes Please.

Courtesy Wikicommons Media

Courtesy Wikicommons Media

During medical school, I mostly avoided caffeine. On the really painful days, I’d have a cup of tea, or maybe coffee–but I mostly survived without it. Now, it’s kind of necessity. (Some sort of iced variety preferred.)

I can get by okay without it. See patients, get on a roll, multitask with the best of them. But coffee always seems to give me that extra little jolt of energy that my n of 1 experience tells me it helps me. (Though many of my colleagues would argue I’m high-strung enough as is.) Coffee gets me in the zone, or at least makes me feel that way, and that’s how I often need to feel when the patients start to build up on a bad Monday. My mind and body function clearer and quicker. It’s like a RAM upgrade. Or something.

It’s to the point that I actually fear going to work without coffee, fearing that it may affect my performance, which a) I’m pretty sure meets criteria for dependence and/or addiction and b) is probably similar language to how other people (rock stars, actors, investment bankers) talk about things like cocaine. “It’s totally harmless, helps me start my day, and I need it; it really does help!”

Juuuust enough caffeine. Courstey of Wikipedia.

Juuuust enough caffeine. Courstey of Wikipedia.

But I never understood why coffee made me feel this way. Turns out, it’s a pretty well-described phenomenon in the psychology literature called the Yerkes-Dodson law; the premise being that there’s a bell-shaped curve when you plot “arousal” and “performance,” and I’m pretty sure for me coffee usually puts me on that sweet spot. In How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, I first learned about the term, which one physician calls “productive anxiety,” and I’d have to agree.

Of course, having a bell curve means that you’re bound to overdose at some point, leading the shaky-jittery shoot-I’m-drinking-this-on-an-empty-stomach mode, and you just pray pray pray you don’t get a laceration to repair, a peritonsillar abscess to drain, or central line to introduce. Thank god, our new interns start in a week. See one, do one, teach one!

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