Each year, ACEP’s Council elects new leaders for the College at its meeting. The Council, which represents all 53 chapters, 40 sections of membership, the Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine, the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors, the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association, and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, will elect four members to the ACEP Board of Directors when it meets in October. Let’s meet the candidates for the Board of Directors.
Note: The candidates for President-Elect, Council Speaker, and Vice Speaker are featured in the August 2023 issue of ACEP Now.
QUESTION FOR THE CANDIDATES: What would you do to ensure that emergency medicine remains an attractive specialty?
Current Professional Positions: Medical director, Van Buren County Hospital emergency department and Van Buren County Hospital ambulance, Keosauqua, Iowa; EMS medical director, Farmington Ambulance; medical director, Atlantic Health, Morristown Medical Center, Travel MD, Corporate Health
Internships and Residency: Emergency medicine residency, Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, New Jersey
Medical Degree: DO, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Biddeford, Maine (1989)
With the decline in applicants for emergency medicine residencies, the number of physicians either retiring or deciding to leave our field to pursue other interests, and our aging workforce, it is imperative that we prioritize making emergency medicine attractive for a rewarding career. We must focus on exploring why individuals have lost interest in our specialty and why practicing physicians have left to pursue other interests.
We can make some assumptions as to why our specialty has become less attractive and why physicians are leaving or retiring early. Our work can be very rewarding, whether we resuscitate a cardiac arrest patient who is discharged neurologically intact, save the life of a badly injured individual, or render pain control to a child with an earache. During COVID, we were heroes. But after COVID, many physicians felt physically and emotionally exhausted due to the volume of patients, high acuity, and the lack of supplies, medication, etc.
Post-COVID, some of our partners left. More importantly, nurses and ancillary care professionals left, which led to increased overcrowding, closure of inpatient beds, and a further lack of resources. I read an article where a physician thought that we could offer a fellowship in emergency “hallway” medicine. I did appreciate the satire, but the reality is, in many emergency departments, we do practice hallway medicine that frequently results in sub-optimal care and leads to poor patient outcomes and experiences for not only the patient, but also their families.