Greetings and welcome to our new class of Emergency Medicine Interns!
You have joined our specialty during an exciting and uncertain time. But excitement and uncertainty are not new to our specialty, nor do I believe they are unique to it. We are often called to react to situations without enough information, but are expected to handle these situations flawlessly. The bar is high, but we are more than prepared for the task.
You may struggle during intern year to balance all of your new responsibilities. Remember to take care of yourself, in whatever ways have gotten you this far. Whether you need a day in the woods, a chat with a good friend, or just a few moments with your loved ones – be they two legged or four legged – make this time a priority. You cannot drink from an empty well.
Develop good coping strategies now. Find similar people with whom to share your struggles and your successes. Sometimes just speaking aloud what bothers you may make it seem more manageable, and many times those we share with have had a similar issue. Remember that you are never alone, and have in fact joined a specialty 45 thousand strong and counting.
Remember your training. You have been well trained by your schools and will get an excellent education from your residency program. When you don’t know what to do – remember the ABCs, and remember that many disease pathways end at “supportive care.” When all else fails, call the attending.
We have the awesome privilege of caring for everyone from the young to the old, the infirm to the stout, the wealthy to the destitute. We are the safety net of the healthcare web, and have been tasked to ensure no one falls through the cracks. Not everything we see is an emergency, but many people have nowhere else to go. A kind word from you and compassionate care will often do more than any fancy procedure or medication.
Many of you get dedicated conference days and GME funds to use for travel. One of my fondest memories from intern year was attending Spring Seminar in beautiful Bonita Springs. It reminded me why I chose this specialty in the first place and allowed me to reconnect with valued colleagues and friends. I hope you will remember us as you start your residency journey and include us in your travel plans, be they virtual or otherwise. A few laughs with friends while poolside can do wonders for your soul.
Above all, welcome to emergency medicine. Study hard, take good care of yourself and your team, and enjoy the journey. You have worked hard to get here, and are more than up to the task before you.
Good luck and remember the dose for epinephrine in anaphylaxis is 0.3mg IM 1:1000. Most other things can be looked up.
Christina Hornack, DO
ACOEP-RSO President 2019-2020
Robert E. Suter, DO, MHA, FACOEP-D