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Dealing with Shiftwork
We asked some of our ACEP members why they chose Emergency Medicine and why they practice in Hawaii, and here are some of their answers:
“I tell medical students that there are two good ways to choose a medical specialty. First, you can fall in love with something. If you fall in love with a specialty, you should marry it. If you don’t, and you choose something other than what you fell in love with, you set yourself up for a lifetime of regret.”
The second way is that you don’t fall in love with anything. In that case, you use your problem-solving mind to come up with the best solution to this puzzle that you can. I think we can guess what specialties those folks end up in….
Me? I fell in love with emergency medicine. I remember volunteering in an emergency department as an undergraduate and watching some disaster-on-a-stretcher being wheeled into a resuscitation bay, nurses all action passing cables and medications back and forth, and in the corner of the room as calm as could be was a gray-haired white coated emergency physician coolly ordering another amp of Bretyllium…. And I thought to be cool under that kind of pressure is the absolute pinnacle of achievement. I came into medical school thinking I wanted to be an emergency physician. After trying (and genuinely liking) many other specialties during rotations in medical school, I realized that I loved emergency medicine. I knew if I picked some other specialty, then every day when I went to the hospital and walked past those flashing ambulances backed up under that big red sign that spells out EMERGENCY, I’d think, “Some lucky bastard gets to work in there, and I blew it.”
So I chose emergency medicine, one of the loves of my life. And I am so grateful that I have the privilege of doing this profoundly challenging and rewarding job.
I was born and raised in Hawaii, never saw snow until I went off to college. I always wanted to come home to practice. It’s a great community to practice in, with a great patient population full of challenging pathology and genuine gratitude, and a great place for my children to grow up. After a night shift I can head to the beach for some stand-up paddling at dawn. My boys and I can camp and hike year-round, in the mountains or on the beaches. Even having grown-up here, there are trails I still have yet to explore, beaches I haven’t been to, world-class restaurants and darling hole-in-the wall spots I haven’t eaten at yet, countless adventures yet to be had!”
Jason Fleming, MD
“This the best job in the world! What other job pays you to stay up all night long and see crazy people that have done crazy things to themselves! We can often help someone and once in a while save a life. About Hawaii, I never have to wear a tie!”
Mark Baker, MD
“I enjoyed Pediatric Emergency Medicine because of the fast pace, variety and acuity of patients. It’s great to be able to help families during difficult and stressful times when their children are sick or injured. Hawaii is a great place to practice and live because of its incredible natural beauty, diversity of people and welcoming culture.”
Paul Eakin, MD
“I love the variety in Emergency Medicine, and I love being free to do things when I’m not working and not worrying about being on call. I moved to Hawaii because I love the warm water and the weather is always nice somewhere on the island!”
Grace Chen, MD