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President's Message - July 2017
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July 2017

Heidi Knowles, MD, FACEP

Working in my garden last week, trying to quickly get things done before the next storm rolled in, I realized how oddly similar Texas weather is to working in the Emergency Department...

Bright sunny days, where lives are saved and patients are happy with your ability to relieve pain with ibuprofen, followed the next day by a crazy loud thunderstorm, riddled with tornados that leave behind a trail of irreparable damage. (I'm pretty sure you all know what these shifts are like). As I was leaving one of those "stormy shifts" recently, one that ended with a patient, who'd just had a spontaneous, violent outburst, screaming, kicking and being restrained (sort of) by no less than 6 people (truly for everyone's safety), I literally had the thought "I love how unpredictable EM can be." I do. I love being an emergency physician and I know that most of you do, too, in spite of (or maybe because of) all the chaos.

Doing what we do is a truly remarkable thing – to have the opportunity to take care of people when no one else wants to and when no one else can. It's amazing. The problem is, this kind of responsibility can wear on us… Lately, not a day goes by without hearing of some sort of violence against healthcare workers – something the ED is well versed in, unfortunately. More and more, we hear of physician burnout, depression and even suicides. Recently, I even saw an article that had Emergency Medicine ranked the highest in burnout.

The stressors are real, and sometimes it feels like we are under attack from all angles – not just in the ED, but also by insurance companies, lawyers, etc. Having just finished a particularly contentious legislative session, we are feeling it now more than ever.

Is it stressful? Yes. Is it a game ender? No. It doesn't have to be. One of my favorite sayings is "Life has no remote – you have to get up and change it yourself!" The only way for us to survive and come out ahead is for us to band together now and start being proactive, to start getting up and making things happen – rather than being reactive to the changes that happen to us. Are you up for the challenge? I know your TCEP Board of Directors is. We recently met to go over our annual strategy plan, leaving filled with excitement and motivation to make this year one of the best years ever. Please join us...

Heidi Knowles, MD, FACEP

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