A Shift in Focus: Perspectives of an Early Career Emergency Physician

January 16, 2019 12:33 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

Jamie Schneider, MD
EM3, MCW Emergency Medicine Residency
WACEP Alternate Delegate to WMS and ACEP

As the end of residency nears I have noticed a subtle shift in my education. Until recently, I had been focused on how to treat patients; medical school taught me disease and diagnosis and the broad strokes, and the first years of residency honed my treatment of crashing patients and worried well.

It’s only in the last year that I’ve really started learning what it means to be a physician in the real world.  This includes billing workshops, applying for jobs, reviewing contracts, and engaging in philosophical discussions on management of our profession.

To this end, I had the awesome opportunity to join the WACEP delegation at the ACEP 2018 Annual Meeting last fall as an alternate delegate. Where the ACEP Scientific Assembly adds to our education and tools for treating patients, the Annual Meeting gives us a venue to shape the practice and profession of Emergency Medicine.

ACEP, as with seemingly every other organization in America, spent much of its time at the Annual Meeting on opioids. Just as interesting, however, was the vast amount of discussion about what Emergency Medicine is, and how we as a profession should manage and advance it. We heard keynotes on how to tackle the lack of trained EPs in rural areas, bylaws amendments on who should be a part of ACEP, and resolutions on topics from protecting physicians’ mental and physical health to ensuring fair and appropriate remuneration to appropriately training future EPs.

As a physician early in my career, these debates were valuable in shaping my understanding and views, and for our more experienced members gave a forum for sharing their wisdom. It can be argued that Emergency Medicine attracts one of the most diverse groups of practitioners, caring for the most diverse group of patients in the most diverse environments in all of medicine. There is clearly no “one best way” forward for our profession, but forums like the ACEP Annual Meeting are invaluable for allowing us to find common ground.

With that in mind, I am looking forward to the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Annual Meeting coming up on April 7. Representatives from each Wisconsin specialty society (including WACEP) and from all geographic districts of the state will gather in Madison to discuss topics relevant to the entire house of medicine of Wisconsin. Resolutions this year will include at least two that are sponsored by WACEP. If you don’t happen to be sleeping off a Saturday overnight shift, consider joining us for what is sure to be interesting and enlightening discussion.