Brielle Grace Edwards - Diversity in healthcare

Submitted 2022-10-27

As a member of several pre-health clubs on my campus, I have had the pleasure of listening to speakers in various medical specialties. Each year, the list of speakers features at least one specialist in emergency medicine. This is the presentation that has always stood out to me the most.

Emergency medicine is entirely unique from all the other specialties. Those that work in the field often have the highest stakes, the widest range of cases, and the least amount of time to make a critical, life-saving decision.

While these aspects of emergency medicine may not appeal to everyone, I believe I would thrive in a fast-paced and constantly changing environment such as emergency medicine. Another aspect of emergency medicine that stands out to me when listening to current practitioners is how much teamwork is involved. While this is true for most specialties, it is especially true for emergency medicine. Through my current work experience, I have learned that teamwork is one of my strengths and something I value highly, and feel drawn to a career in emergency medicine.

I plan to use teamwork to my advantage in graduate school and beyond. Whether it be in the capacity of study groups for tests, club events, or interacting interdisciplinary with other healthcare workers to provide the best clinical care, I hope to contribute to a strong team effort.

However, I know not everything can be done as a team. While most of healthcare does utilize teamwork and a variety of professionals to make a single decision, this is not always the case. In emergency medicine specifically, there are times when a decision must be made so quickly that other opinions cannot be consulted. To best prepare me for these moments, I hope to never stop training. Even when I finish my formal education, I will continue reading and practicing hypothetical scenarios. By discussing what I find with others, I can use my team to prepare for the moments when I will not be able to rely on others.

Continual studying is certainly a useful skill, but the intense work and high stakes also requires relaxation. In order to be the best practitioner for my patients, I need to be mentally present and at my best. To do this, I will meditate before every shift. This is something I do even as an undergraduate student each morning, and the practice allows me to be mentally refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of each day. Furthermore, I will consciously plan time for leisurely activities outside of work. Just as teamwork is important in the school and hospital, it is essential that people have a supportive network of friends and family. This is something I will cultivate for myself so that I have friends and family outside of work in addition to the team of coworkers I will have in the hospital.

It is no myth that the decade we see ourselves in is marked by high physician burnout. This is caused by numerous factors, one of which is the lack of work-life balance and a similar lack of de-stressing mechanisms practiced by healthcare professionals. While I cannot fix every cause of physician burnout, I can ensure that I will not be burnt out. I will make sure to stay attentive to my work and give my patients the attention they need and deserve. But I will also make sure to give myself the same attention. By giving time to myself outside of work, I will ensure that I am fully and mentally present when I am on the clock.

Emergency medicine is a field in which nearly anything can happen. This leads to an exciting and fulfilling career. Any healthcare practitioner who works in the emergency medicine field can directly see the outcomes of their knowledge and work. While this is deeply gratifying, there are also high stakes. As a future heath care professional, I will rise to this challenge. But I

will also not make my work harder than it needs to be. By surrounding myself with educated peers and making sure I am mentally at my best each day, I can avoid burnout and give my patients the care they deserve.